NHL Picks and Tips: Washington Capitals at Nashville Predators
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
A brilliant home record lifted the Nashville Predators into a top-five spot in the Western Conference regular-season standings last year. That success hasn't yet carried over into the 2011-12 campaign. The Predators look to build on a so-so showing at home as they entertain the Washington Capitals on Tuesday.
Nashville has only two victories in six home games after posting an impressive 24-9-8 mark a season ago. The club kicked off a five-game homestand on a losing note, dropping a 2-1 overtime decision to the Montreal Canadiens in the 1,000th game in franchise history.
The Predators will face a Washington club that has jumped out to a 6-1-1 mark at home but is only 4-3-0 away from the U.S. capital. The Capitals took three of a possible four points in their home-and-home series with the New Jersey Devils, winning 3-1 in Newark before dropping a 3-2 shootout decision in its own building.
Washington Capitals (10-4-1): Bruce Boudreau was denied his 200th career NHL win in the loss to the Devils, a game in which the Capitals squandered a 2-0 lead before ultimately dropping its first extra-time game of the season. Star winger Alexander Ovechkin opted to use his body more than his stick, dishing out 11 hits. He wasn't thrilled afterward. "My job is to score goals, not to make hits," he said. "The second period, I probably had three chances to score, but I didn’t do the right thing."
Nashville Predators (8-5-3): Nashville has been desperate for a go-to scorer to emerge. Patric Hornqvist may be that guy. The 24-year-old Swede saw his franchise-best six-game goal-scoring streak halted in a win over Anaheim a week ago, but he still dished out three assists. He was held scoreless against Montreal, ending a run that saw him score seven goals and add four assists in seven games. Hornqvist has two assists in three career games against the Capitals.
1. Washington has prevailed in each of the last four head-to-head meetings, but every one of those games was decided in extra time. That includes a 3-2 overtime decision in their previous encounter Oct. 16, 2010.
2. Boudreau wasn't interested in engaging reporters who inquired about the 200-win plateau, responding simply: "I'm not there yet."
3. Ovechkin has been sensational against Nashville in his career, scoring four times and adding four assists in five games. He has seven goals in seven road games this season - and zero in eight home games.
NHL PREDICTION: Capitals 4, Predators 2. Expect Ovechkin to go off again in support of Boudreau, who will secure win No. 200 on his second try.
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