Capitals 4, Predators 1

Associated Press  |  Last updated December 20, 2011
Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom scored first period goals, Alexander Semin added a third-period goal, and Michal Neuvirth stopped 20 shots as the Washington Capitals beat the Nashville Predators 4-1 on Tuesday night. Nashville lost for the first time in six games, and for the first time in 11 contests, had a game decided by more than one goal. The quirky 10-game streak was two shy of an NHL record, according to STATS LLC. Washington improved to 5-5 under new coach Dale Hunter. The Capitals are 6-1 in their last seven games against the Predators. The Capitals grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first period. Ovechkin scored just his fourth goal in 18 games when he took a pass from Karl Alzner at the blue line, and in a blur, cleanly beat goalie Anders Lindback at 7:42 for his 11th goal of the season. Backstrom netted his 12th at 15:51. He carried the puck behind the net, skated in front, and slammed a shot past Lindback. Washington dominated play in the first, jumping out to a 10-1 edge in shots. The two-goal outburst in the period was a welcomed change for the Capitals, who had scored only goal in each of their previous three games. The Predators' Sergei Kostitsyn broke Neuvirth's shutout bid 4:40 into the third period with his fifth goal. Semin's seventh of the season made it 3-1 midway through the third and marked the first time this season he has scored in consecutive games. Troy Brouwer pushed the lead to 4-1 at 13:46. NOTES: Capitals RW Mike Knuble played in his 1,000th NHL game. The team honored him in a pregame ceremony, and each of his teammates wore a jersey with his No. 22 during warmups. ... The Predators recalled D Jonathon Blum and LW Blake Geoffrion from Milwaukee of the AHL. ... Nashville D Kevin Klein didn't make the trip because of flu. ... Washington D John Erskine was a healthy scratch. ... Capitals C Marcus Johansson assisted on the last two goals.
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