Capitals hope to continue momentum vs. Predators

WASHINGTON -- Having ended a pair of negative streaks, the Washington Capitals will look to build off their most recent game when they host the Nashville Predators on Thursday night.

The Capitals ended a four-game losing streak on Tuesday with a 4-2 win over the Minnesota Wild at Verizon Center. Alex Ovechkin scored to end his career-long 10-game goal drought and Washington (45-17-7) topped the two-goal mark for the first time in seven games.

"I know he's a goal scorer, and I'm sure he gets a little confidence from that goal," Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom told NHL.com. "After the goal, you could really tell he got a little confidence and was skating well, and he challenged their (defensemen) a lot, so that was fun to see."

Ovechkin added an assist and Backstrom contributed three helpers. Jay Beagle, who gave Washington a 4-2 lead late in the game, also broke a slump with his 12th goal of the season and first in 16 games.

Washington, 6-7 since its bye, appeared to be cruising to a second straight Presidents' Cup before the break, but now is in a battle for the Metropolitan Division crown with Pittsburgh and Columbus after an 0-3 West Coast swing.

"I said before it was going to show what kind of character we had in this group, and this is a good start for that. But it's one game, and we move on," goalie Braden Holtby said of Tuesday's win. "In order to be successful, you've got to be consistent, and now our focus shifts to next game."

The Capitals are 28-6-1 at home this season and have earned a point in 21 of their last 23 home games.

Nashville (34-24-11), battling St. Louis for third place in the Central Division, has won two straight after Monday's 5-4 home overtime victory over Winnipeg.

James Neal scored the game-winner, making him the sixth active NHL player to score at least 20 goals in each of his first nine seasons. Filip Forsberg added his 13th goal in in his past 14 games.

The Predators have allowed 65 goals in 20 games since the All-Star break, an average of 3.25 per game.

"I think in front of our net, we've got to be tougher and protect our net better," defenseman Roman Josi told the Tennessean. "Most goals are scored in that little area in front of the net. ... You're always going to give up scoring chances, but I think your goal is to limit those 'A' chances."

Nashville trailed 2-0 in the first period before rallying for the win.

"I think to start, we obviously want to do a better job of not putting ourselves in that position," Forsberg told NHL.com. "But at the same time, we've built that confidence over the year that we can come back from any deficit, really. We keep proving that to ourselves that we can do that."

The Predators won the teams' first meeting 5-2 in Nashville last month. Juuse Saros stopped 24 shots and Josi scored twice against Phillip Grubauer.

However, the Capitals have won nine of their last 14 games against the Predators (9-4-1), including five of their last six at home.

Holtby is 3-1 with a 3.08 goals-against versus Nashville.

Ovechkin has nine goals and four assists in 14 games against the Predators, Backstrom has four goals and 11 assists in 14 games and T.J. Oshie has 12 and nine in 32.

Backstrom picked up his 50th assist Tuesday, giving him four straight 50-assist campaigns.

Predators goalie Pekka Rinne is 2-1 with a 2.68 GAA versus the Capitals.

Forsberg has four goals and five assists in five games against Washington,Neal has totaled nine goals and five assist in 17 games and Ryan Johansen has four and nine in 15.