Viktor Arvidsson finished with a hat trick, and Nick Bonino added two goals as the Nashville Predators defeated the visiting Washington Capitals 7-2 on Tuesday night. Arvidsson scored once in the first period and twice more in the second as Nashville got six goals in those first two periods and sent the Capitals on the way to their third consecutive loss. Goalie Juuse Saros got the win for Nashville, finishing with 26 saves.
The loss dropped the Capitals into a tie for first place in the Metropolitan Division as the Columbus Blue Jackets won their fourth straight on Tuesday. Both teams now have 59 points with the Pittsburgh Penguins and the New York Islanders only three points behind. Pheonix Copley started in goal for Washington for a second straight night.
Starter Braden Holtby was injured (poked in the eye) in the 2-1 loss to Columbus on Saturday, and the thought was he might return for this game, but Washington went with Copley. Arvidsson started the scoring with some help from teammate Mattias Ekholm. He made a great stretch pass that got Arvidsson free on a breakaway, and his teammate converted for a 1-0 lead just 3:45 into the game. Bonino made it 2-0 just past the midway point of the first period before Arvidsson sparked a four-goal second period for Nashville.
Just 1:21 into the period, Arvidsson cut across the crease and beautifully redirected a P.K. Subban shot past Copley for a 3-0 lead. Nicklas Backstrom scored for Washington after that on a power-play goal. But Arvidsson completed his hat trick with a short-handed breakaway goal, making a nice move to slide the puck between Copley's pads at the 7:07 mark. Still, the Predators were not done yet. Rocco Grimaldi and Bonino also scored second-period goals and took a 6-1 lead after two. Calle Jarnkrok scored for Nashville in the third period, and T.J. Oshie added a late Washington goal. The Predators have scored 13 goals in their two games versus the Capitals this season.
(With inputs from agencies.)