Two Points – Tuesday marked the third straight game (and the fourth in the last five) in which Washington surrendered a third period lead. The Caps are 2-1 in the last three – with each of the wins coming in either overtime or the shootout – and 2-1-1 in the four games in which they’ve given up a lead in the final frame.
Alexander Semin’s third period goal gave the Caps a 3-2 lead at 1:58 of the third period. The shot on which Semin scored was Washington’s 28th of the night; the Predators had a dozen shots of their own at that point.
Over the next 11:26 of play, Nashville fired 13 shots on Jose Theodore while the Caps were stymied in that department. Jason Arnott’s goal came on the 13th of those shots, at the 13:24 mark of the third.
The Capitals had only three third period shots on goal, as many as they had in the five-minute overtime.
“We dominated them I thought for the first thirty minutes and they don’t want to be pushed around and they’re going to come back,” said Caps forward Brooks Laich after the game. “They played well the second half of the game. We took some penalties and let them back in it. But at the end, Jose [Theodore] came up big and our offensive guys came through in the shootout. We’re happy with the win and moving on.”
Red October – The Caps closed out the October portion of their schedule with a 5-3-1 mark. Considering that they played five of those nine games on the road, six of the nine against Western Conference foes and had to deal with the absence of some of their better players from most games, it was a solid first month’s showing.
The Caps managed to pick up a point in six of nine games, and two of their losses came by the margin of a single goal. Washington also will finish out the month in first place in the Southeast Division standings.
The Caps October record in 2008-09 (.611 winning pct.) is their best since they went 7-4-2 in the first month of the 1997-98 season en route to the only Stanley Cup finals appearance in franchise history.
En Fuego – Semin continues to hold the hot scoring hand, even with Alex Ovechkin out of the lineup. Semin had a goal and an assist and added a shootout tally. He has had a point in three straight games and has recorded five multiple-point games in Washington’s nine games this season.
Semin’s goal tonight was his first power play strike of the season. He leads the NHL with seven even-strength goals. Last season, Semin netted 10 of his 26 goals on the season on the power play.
Shootout Master – Theodore ran his career record in the shootout to 10-2 on Tuesday. He has now saved 36 of 44 (.818) in the shootout in his NHL career.
“Every time you win in the shootout, I think the emotion takes over,” says Theodore. “As a goalie it’s a challenge that I like. I like being in the shootouts. I like having the chance to pretty much win it. It’s fun to know that if you make the save, you win the game. It’s good for the fans and we think we deserve the extra point.”
Busy Night for the Big Man -- Tuesday night marked the 119th game of Caps defenseman Jeff Schultz's NHL career. He logged a single-game career high 26:14 in the contest.
Killing With Kindness – Coming into Tuesday night’s game at Verizon Center, the Predators had allowed at least one power play goal in six of their eight games. The Preds got into the third period without surrendering a power play goal, but Semin’s one-timer eight seconds after Joel Ward’s boarding infraction changed all that. The Preds killed six of seven on the night.
Home Cooking – The Capitals are now 9-0-1 in their last 10 regular season home games, dating back to last season. Washington is 3-0-1 on Verizon Center ice thus far in 2008-09.
Powering Up – The Caps have netted at least one power play goal in each of their last three games.
Stingy With the Shots – Heading into Tuesday night’s tilt, the Predators had not allowed more than 30 shots on goal in any single game this season. They surrendered 19 shots on goal in the first period of Tuesday’s game against Washington, but held the Caps to a total of just 13 shots on goal over the game’s final 45 minutes.
Short Stuff –David Steckel netted his second goal of the season and his second shorthanded goal of the season late in the first period, converting a terrific tape-to-tape home run pass from Alexander Semin. Each of Steckel’s shorthanded strikes has come with a Semin assist.
Steckel is tied for the league lead in shorthanded goals and Semin is tied for the league lead in shorthanded assists.
Missed it by That Much – Through the game’s first 40 minutes, Nashville had missed as many shots on goal (five misses, six shots blocked) as it had put on goal. The Predators launched a combined total of 15 shots on goal in the third period and overtime.
Streaking – Nashville’s J. P. Dumont had three assists in Tuesday’s game to run his scoring streak to five straight games (two goals, five assists).
Klee is a Coyote – Drafted in the 11th round (177th overall) of the 1990 NHL Entry Draft, defenseman Ken Klee spent the first nine seasons of his NHL career here in Washington. He played 570 games in a Caps sweater before departing as a free agent after the 2002-03 season.
Since then, Klee has been well traveled. He has played 296 games for five teams (Toronto, New Jersey, Colorado, Atlanta and Anaheim) and will suit up for a sixth team soon. Placed on waivers recently by Anaheim, Klee was claimed on Tuesday by the Phoenix Coyotes. The Desert Dogs will be Klee’s third NHL team since the start of training camp, and his sixth since the lockout.
Day Off – With three days now looming between now and Washington’s next game on Saturday in Buffalo, the Capitals were given Wednesday off. The players will practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Thursday morning at 10 a.m. and
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1 - 0 WSH
1 - 1 Tie
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