(SportsNetwork.com) - The Nashville Predators will try to avoid a fifth
consecutive loss when they visit the Washington Capitals for Saturday's battle
at the Verizon Center.
The Predators have matched a season-worst losing streak with their current
0-3-1 funk, tying the club's 0-4-0 skid from Nov. 8-15. Another setback on
Saturday would give Nashville its worst losing streak since dropping eight
straight from April 4-19 of last season.
Nashville's last two losses came in regulation and Barry Trotz's club was
handed a 5-2 loss by visiting Carolina on Thursday. Jeff Skinner scored his
first career hat trick to lift the Hurricanes to the lopsided win at
The Preds led the contest 2-1 in the early stages of the second period, but
couldn't finish off Carolina. The Hurricanes scored four unanswered goals to
end the game, including three in under 13 minutes in the second period after
the Predators had taken the 2-1 lead with two goals in the first 2:41 of the
"Their top guys were good tonight, and we didn't have a match for them,"
Predators head coach Barry Trotz said. "Some of our top guys weren't on today.
I think our core wasn't as strong."
Mike Fisher and Viktor Stalberg scored for the Predators. Marek Mazanec
allowed four goals on 13 shots in the first two periods and Carter Hutton made
nine saves in the third.
Nashville played its third straight game without star defenseman Shea Weber,
who has been out with an eye injury since getting hit with a puck on Nov. 28.
Weber returned to practice on Friday and is making the trip to D.C. He is
expected to be a game-time decision tonight.
The Predators went winless during their recent four-game homestand, but they
can extend a three-game road winning streak on Saturday. Nashville, which will
complete a brief two-game swing with Tuesday's test against the New York
Rangers, is 7-7-1 on the road this season.
Washington will try to get back on track Saturday after having a two-game
winning streak halted with Tuesday's 4-1 loss against the Hurricanes. Skinner
had two goals and an assist in the win for Carolina.
Mike Green scored the lone goal for the Capitals, who lost for the fifth time
in seven games. It was the first goal of the season for Green, a defenseman
who once scored 31 goals for Washington during the 2008-09 campaign.
"You know as a smaller subplot it's obviously good for him," Capitals coach
Adam Oates said of Green's goal. "It's obviously been something that we've
talked about a lot. Now the zero is gone, so hopefully it leads to more."
Braden Holtby turned aside 19-of-23 shots over two periods before being pulled
in favor of Philipp Grubauer, who made nine saves in the third frame. Neither
Holtby nor Grubauer has ever faced the Predators.
The Caps played their third straight game without forward Brooks Laich, who is
dealing with a groin injury at the moment. He is expected to sit out a fourth
consecutive tilt on Saturday.
Washington is playing on back-to-back days this weekend and will visit the
Rangers on Sunday.
The Capitals have taken six of the past seven meetings with the Predators,
although four of Washington's victories during that span have come after
Nashville is 2-4-2 in its eight all-time trips to D.C.
The Sports Network