April 4th, 2018
The top team in the Metropolitan division will face off against the top team in the Central division on Thursday when the Nashville Predators (51-18-11) conclude their three-game road trip in Washington (48-25-7). Both teams will be playing free of pressure, as they’ve clinched playoff spots and have their sights set on the postseason.
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Nashville gets a day of rest after facing the Florida Panthers on Tuesday, a game in which Nashville scored a game-tying goal in the last second – only for it to be waived off due to goalie interference. November 14 was the last time they played against Washington, and the game ended well for the Preds. Left winger Kevin Fiala contributed one goal and one assist in the 6-3 victory. This was before Nashville’s epic late season push that propelled them to the top of the futures market (+350). Since February 19, they’ve won 17 of 23, and have all but locked down top spot in the NHL. Pekka Rinne (.927 SV%, 2.32 GAA) has been a big part of the success.
As for the Capitals, they’ve strung together 13 wins in their last 17 games and are coming off two days of rest following a 4-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Monday. They may not have the same goaltending prowess as Nashville (2.90 GAA vs. 2.50 GAA), but they have left winger Alex Ovechkin to compensate. The Russian has amassed 84 points this season.
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