WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Nashville Predators are in a good groove
and they have their potent power play to thank.
Defenseman Marek Zidlicky had two power-play goals in the first
period, and Scott Sullivan added one in the third to lift the
Predators to a 5-2 victory over the Washington Capitals on
Sullivan also scored in the second period, assisted by Zidlicky,
and was stopped on a penalty shot as the Predators (17-4-3) won
their fourth straight game.
Nashville has scored at least one power-play goal in 11 straight
"Special teams are going to be the difference in hockey games
in this new NHL, and for us the power play has been good,"
Sullivan said. "If you look at the score sheet, that was the
difference. Our power play was able to be successful."
Washington (9-15-2), which has lost six of seven, scored on one
of 10 power-play chances. They entered the game ranked 29th in
"When you have a 12.3-percent power play, there's going to be
some times out there where it just looks disjointed and
dysfunctional and that's just where we're at," Washington coach
Glen Hanlon said.
The Predators had two power plays in the first period and struck
quickly on each. Zidlicky scored 35 seconds into the first and 33
seconds into the second, with Paul Kariya and Kimmo Timonen
assisting on both. Kariya and Timonen are tied for the team lead in
assists with 15.
The Predators have 39 points, one behind Western Conference
leader Detroit. Nashville has won six of seven and 10 of 12.
"We moved the puck well, and our power play was good," Kariya
said. "The most we play together, the better off we're going to
Nashville's Chris Mason made 30 saves. He has three wins and a
shootout loss in four starts this season.
Scott Hartnell had an empty-net goal for Nashville with less
than a second left.
Washington rookie Alex Ovechkin notched the Capitals' first goal
on a power play in the second period. Ben Clymer added a goal in
Olie Kolzig made 29 saves for the Capitals, including a stop of
Sullivan's penalty shot 10 minutes into the second period.
It was the only meeting of the season between the teams.
... Timonen has 12 assists in 11 games. ... Ovechkin has 17 goals,
11 more than his closest teammate. ... The attendance of 11,088 was
the smallest for a Capitals home game since Oct. 16.