The Nashville Predators beat the Washington Capitals by a score of 6-3 on Tuesday, and it wasn’t a matter of luck.
Actually, you might argue that the Capitals were lucky … at least for a little while. Nashville stormed out of the gate in the first period, managing a hearty 18-3 shots advantage. Braden Holtby kept things reasonable in keeping Nashville’s lead to 2-0 through the opening frame, but eventually the Predators’ attack was just too much.
Washington made things interesting during a second period that was wild at times, with the two teams combining for five goals in about five minutes. They combined for seven goals overall in the middle frame. It was a good time for everyone but the goalies and coaches (and some of the defensemen):
Ultimately, the second period and game ended with the same 6-3 score, leaving Holtby & Co. bewildered. They also forced Holtby to the Capitals’ bench. Under most circumstances, it was a team-wide struggle, but goals like these probably left Holtby muttering expletives to himself:
Aside from some defensive lapses, this is the sort of night that Predators GM David Poile probably dreamt about when trying to hash out the three-team trade that eventually netted them Kyle Turris. Turris (one assist) ranked among 12th different Predators with at least one point. His presence sure seems like a benefit for Craig Smith (goal) and Kevin Fiala (goal, assist), while Nick Bonino found the net in his return to the lineup.
After a bumpy start to the season, the Predators are looking like the team that many expected to translate a strong playoff run to better results overall in 2017-18. This rise in optimism also predates Turris’ first two games in, as Nashville’s winning streak is now at five games.
They’ve snagged wins against some legitimate competition, too. They beat the Ducks, Kings, and Blue Jackets on the road, got some revenge against Pittsburgh at home during Turris’ Saturday debut, and then left the Capitals shaking their heads in Nashville tonight.
And this team doesn’t even have Ryan Ellis back in the lineup yet.
Perhaps the Predators’ powerful work might make Holtby feel a little better. Coming into tonight, he was on a six-game winning streak, allowing a meager 11 goals during that run. Luckily for Holtby and the Capitals, they don’t have to deal with Nashville again until April 5.
Who knows how scary this Predators team will look by then?
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.