Preview 17: Ward, Vokoun return to Smashville as Capitals
Washington Capitals 10-4-1
Nashville Predators 8-5-3
The Nashville Predators continue their homestand Tuesday night at Bridgestone Arena when the Washington Capitals visit Music City. Both the Predators and the Capitals are coming off losses in games that took extra time to settle.
In the franchise’s 1000th regular season game, the Predators dropped a 2-1 decision in overtime to Montreal on Saturday night. Washington lost 3-2 in a shootout on Saturday to New Jersey.
Tuesday night’s game will be the 9th time the Capitals will play at Bridgestone Arena. Having met four times since the start of the 2008-09 season, the Capitals have won each of the last four meetings, but needed extra time to decide the game in either overtime or a shootout. Last season, Washington beat the Predators on October 16, 2010, 3-2 in overtime. Nashville had a 2-0 lead going into the third period but allowed the Capitals to tie the game by the end of regulation.
The game also marks the return of Joel Ward to Nashville. An unrestricted free agent, Ward signed a contract with the Capitals in the off-season worth $12 million over the next four seasons.
In 15 games this year, Ward has 4 goals and 3 assists for 7 points. Last year, the undrafted native of Toronto, Ontario led the Predators in the playoffs, earning him the attention on the market in the off season, despite only scoring 10 goals in 80 regular season games.
Former longtime Predator Tomas Vokoun also signed with the Capitals in the summer. Vokoun has an 8-2-0 record this season with Washington, with a 2.39 goals against average and an .921 save percentage. Against the Predators as a member of the Florida Panthers, Vokoun had a 1-2 record with a 2.01 gaa and an .930 save percentage.
Craig Smith continues to be the player to watch for the Predators. With 10 points, including five goals and five assists in his last 10 games, the former Wisconsin Badger is tied with David Legwand for the team lead in points with 14, including 7 goals and 7 assists.
While Smith continues to play like a Calder Trophy candidate, Legwand remains out of the lineup. The first ever draft pick of the Predators organization left the game against the Los Angeles Kings last Tuesday night after taking a hard hit from Kings captain Dustin Brown.
The Predators also announced Monday night that Teemu Laakso was been placed on injured reserve. No call up from Milwaukee is required as Nashville still has six healthy defensemen on the roster.
For those keeping track, the Predators have two more points after 16 games than they did a year ago when Nashville advanced to the playoffs for the sixth time in seven years. Nashville is 8-5-3, which is good for 19 points. A season ago, the team was 7-6-3 for 17 points.
The puck drops a little after 7 pm CT at Bridgestone Arena.
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