Predators Vs. Capitals: All The Stars Contribute As Washington Cruises To 4-1 Win Over Nashville

All three of Washington's offensive stars contributed in what was their most impressive performance since Dale Hunter took over.

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Dale Hunter Has Only A One-Year Contract To Coach Washington Capitals, Report Says

Reports say that Washington Capitals head coach Dale Hunter only has a contract through the end of this season.

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Predators Vs. Capitals: Washington Cruises to 4-1 Home Win Over Nashville

The Washington Capitals bounced back from their weekend loss to Colorado with a convincing win over the Nashville Predators at the Verizon Center. All the stars got involved on Tuesday night as Washington improved to 17-14-1.

Enjoying a two goal lead heading into the third period, the Caps withstood an early Nashville goal to cruise to a three goal win. Sergei Kostitsyn ended Michael Neuvirth's shutout less than five minutes into the third period. But Alexander Semin would extend it yet again to a two goal Washington lead.

The goal was Semin at his finest, as the Capitals winger put a beautiful wrist shot on net for his 7th goal of the season. Marcus Johannson came across the middle and dropped the puck off for Semin, who ripped as good a wrister as you will see, up and over the left shoulder and glove hand of Anders Lindback.

Troy Brouwer would add a power play goal down low a little over three minutes later to make it 4-1. It was Brouwer's first goal in five games, but his second of the season against the Preds.

It was likely the Caps' finest performance since coach Dale Hunter took over. In addition to Semin, the Caps other two offensive stars, Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, found the back of the net to build the 2-0 first period lead. Ovechkin notched his 11th of the season on a hard charging breakaway to tie Backstrom for the team lead. Nicklas, however, would take it right back with his 12th of the season later in the first. It was a pure hustle play as Backstrom worked behind the net and maintained control on a wrap around to beat Lindback.

In Mike Knuble's 1,000 NHL game, all the stars came through for the Caps in an all-around great night at Verizon Center. They will look to build the momentum on Friday night in Newark against the New Jersey Devils.

For more on the Capitals, visit Japers' Rink.

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Predators Vs. Capitals: Caps Maintain 2-0 Lead Over Predators

The second period between the Washington Capitals and Nashville Predators did not feature any scoring, but plenty of excitement as the Caps still hold a 2-0 lead after 40 minutes.

Nashville dominated the flow of play through the second period as they had eight shots (three of which came on three power plays). The Caps only had three shots, but better opportunities. Most notably, Alexander Semin and Marcus Johansson had a 2-on-1 that came up fruitless, while Troy Brouwer hit the post on a odd-man rush.

Michal Neuvirth has been steady in goal, making 12 saves through 40 minutes.

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Predators Vs. Capitals: Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom Cap Off Vintage First Period As Caps Lead Predators 2-0

The best word to describe the Washington Capitals' first period against the Nashville Predators Tuesday is "vintage."

Alex Ovechkin's breakaway and Nicklas Backstrom's wraparound goal have given the Caps a 2-0 lead through 20 minutes.

Ovechkin's 11th goal of the season (and only his second at home) came at 7:42. The play started when John Carlson fed the puck to Karl Alzner in the defensive zone. Meanwhile, Ovechkin sealed his defender off, spun around him along the boards and took Alzner's breakout pass all the way to a goal past Anders Lindback.

About nine minutes later, Backstrom added to the Caps' lead when he took the puck from the faceoff dot around the net, shedding Jerred Smithson in the process. Backstrom then had plenty of space to put his wraparound past Lindback for his 12th goal of the season and 99th of his career.

Washington entered the game having scored only one goal in each of its last three games.

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Predators Vs. Capitals: Mike Knuble Reflects On 1,000th Career Game

Washington Capitals winger Mike Knuble will play in his 1,000th career game on Tuesday when the Capitals take on the Nashville Predators. He will become the 269th player in NHL history to reach that benchmark, but it's especially significant for him because he didn't play for a full season until he was 26 years old.

Prior to the game, Knuble reflected on his milestone, saying he's been thinking about it for a while. Stephen Whyno of the Washington Times posted a transcript of his comments.

"I was trying to make my way. I was just trying to make the '04 lockout – 400 games. I think that was a pretty good milestone. Back in the day, that used to be like a different pension level, so that was the big goal – get to 400 games. It's changed since then. It's something I've been looking forward to the last probably couple years. You try and stay healthy and you never know with your contract status and all that.

Knuble, 39, has 271 goals and 531 points in his NHL career, which began with the Detroit Red Wings.

For more on the Capitals, visit Japers' Rink.

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Predators Vs. Capitals: Michal Neuvirth To Start, Plenty Of Shuffling Of Forward Lines

BALLSTON, Va. - The Washington Capitals showed several different looks Tuesday during their morning skate in preparation for their game with the Nashville Predators. Said looks included Alex Ovechkin skating with Jeff Halpern and Troy Brouwer and Nicklas Backstrom, Marcus Johansson and Alexander Semin. Later, Brouwer and Brooks Laich moved up to the first line with Ovechkin, while Halpern moved to the third line in between Jason Chimera and Joel Ward.

After practice, head coach Dale Hunter said that the shakeup has more to do with getting the right matchups against a stingy Predators defense.

"Just shaking them up and see what falls out of it, trying to get the right matchups more is what I worry about than just shake them up for no reason," he said.

What is known, however, is Michal Neuvirth will earn his third consecutive start. He has allowed only two goals in his previous two starts and has been in goal since the third period of last Tuesday's 5-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.

Jay Beagle, still working his way back from a concussion suffered over two months. will be the forward scratch Tuesday. The defensive scratch is unknown; Dmitry Orlov was the last defenseman on the ice, but did not take part in extra work.

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Predators Vs. Capitals: Washington Looks To Bounce Back, Exact Revenge Against Nashville

The Washington Capitals have been having a rough go at it lately. With a 4-5-0 record under Dale Hunter, the Caps will return home after a 1-1-0 road trip Tuesday against one of the teams that started the Cap's tailspin last month: the Nashville Predators.

The Predators defeated the Caps 3-1 November 15 with all four goals coming within the last five minutes. Troy Brouwer gave Washington a 1-0 lead, but Nashville scored three unanswered goals for the victory. It was the first loss of a three-game road trip that saw the Caps outscored 14-3 and ultimately cost Bruce Boudreau his job as head coach.

Washington has scored just one goal in three straight games and five times under Hunter. According to The Washington Examiner's Brian McNally, Nashville has played in 10 straight one-goal games, winning seven of them. The Predators' goaltender, Pekka Rinne, was named the NHL's "Second Star of the Week." Looking for offense, Hunter put Marcus Johansson on the top line with Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin. Troy Brouwer moved to the second line with Jeff Halpern and Alexander Semin.

Mike Knuble will play his 1,000th career game Tuesday and will be honored before the game.

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Predators Vs. Capitals: Jay Beagle Cleared For Contact In Practice, Lines Shuffled Once Again

Jay Beagle was fully cleared to practice Monday, but has no timetable on his return to action after missing over two months.

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