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Capitals vs. Predators: Tale of the Tape, Lines, Players To Watch

The Washington Capitals look to close out a back-to-back on a positive note against the Nashville Predators. Here’s everything to know before puck drop.



WASHINGTON — After a quick stop in Columbus for what turned into a wild game against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Washington Capitals are back home to close out a back-to-back against the Nashville Predators, who are coming off quite a showdown themselves.

Here is everything to know ahead of puck drop:

Washington Capitals vs. Nashville Predators: Tale of the Tape

The Capitals (22-13-6) haven't been getting off to the best starts of late, but they've been able to keep their stellar point streak alive thanks to plenty of offense and bounceback second periods. Still, Washington has recognized sloppiness here and there of late, and the team knows that playing that way won't be sustainable if it wants to continue to make a strong push in the second half. Besides that, the Capitals are finding ways to win, and have gotten 5-on-5 contributions from all four lines and a lot from special teams. Since Nov. 23, the team has gone 16-for-57 (28.1 percent) on the man advantage, which is tied for sixth in the NHL over that span, and the penalty kill also ranks in the top-10 at 81 percent. Washington also isn't giving up much and surrenders just 2.76 goals per game (ninth-lowest), and the team also does. a lot of damage with 3.34 goals for per game (10th most in NHL).

Meanwhile, Nashville (17-14-6) has won two straight games and had a convincing showing against the top-ranked Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday. The Predators sit second-to-last in the Central Division but are just two points behind the Colorado Avalanche for fourth, as it's a close race and the team remains very much in the playoff picture with them one winning streak away from Wild Card territory. There are areas where Nashville has struggled, though, as the power play ranks fifth-worst (18.3) while the penalty kill sits in the middle of the pack (78.9). The Predators also have plenty of talent, but they continue to search for consistent offense, and manage just 2.78 goals for per game (sixth-least).

Washington Capitals vs. Nashville Predators: Lines

Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson are not set to make their season debuts on Friday, though Sunday is not out of the question. Nic Dowd will return to the lineup after missing Thursday following the birth of a baby girl. Laviolette said there would be changes with Dowd coming back, but it's unclear who'll draw out. Aliaksei Protas is a healthy scratch.

Here are the lines:

Alex Ovechkin-Evgeny Kuznetsov-Conor Sheary

Sonny Milano-Dylan Strome-T.J. Oshie

Marcus Johansson-Lars Eller-Nicolas Aube-Kubel

Anthony Mantha-Nic Dowd-Garnet Hathaway

Erik Gustafsson-Trevor van Riemsdyk

Dmitry Orlov-Nick Jensen

Martin Fehervary-Alex Alexeyev

Charlie Lindgren will start after Darcy Kuemper stopped 23 of 25 (.920 save percentage) in the victory just 24 hours ago.

Washington Capitals vs. Nashville Predators: Lines

On the D.C. side of the matchup, look out for Alex Ovechkin. The 37-year-old has goals in four straight games, with seven goals over that span. Also, Evgeny Kuznetsov is on a seven-game point streak and has been stellar while reunited with his captain on the top trio. Anthony Mantha is also on a four-game point streak. In addition, Dylan Strome had three assists against Columbus and has points in four of his last five, while Garnet Hathaway has points in three of his last four games. T.J. Oshie is also coming off a two-goal game and is starting to get back in full swing after his return from an upper-body injury.

As for Nashville, look out for old friend Filip Forsberg, as the former Capitals prospect has points in five straight and goals in four of his last five, with nine points total over that span. He is the team's leading scorer this season with 34 points in 37 games. Defenseman Roman Josi also remains a top threat and is on a four-game points streak of his own, as is Mikael Granlund. Meanwhile, Matt Duchene has points in three straight and four of his last five overall, and also keep an eye out for Nino Niederreiter, Ryan Johansen and more top players on their roster.

How To Tune In

Local Washington fans can catch the action live on NBC Sports Washington and listen at WJFK 106.7 The Fan and Caps Radio 24/7. Predators fans can watch on Bally Sports South or tune in on The Game Nashville WRPT-FM.

Puck drop is at 7 p.m. ET at Capital One Arena.

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