WASHINGTON (AP) — Alex Ovechkin's goal was no surprise. But when defensemen Nate Schmidt and Karl Alzner scored, it was an unexpected bonus for Washington.
Braden Holtby made 34 saves and Ovechkin scored the second of three goals by the Capitals in the first 17 minutes of a 5-2 victory over the Predators on Saturday night, extending Nashville's losing streak to five games.
Troy Brouwer and Eric Fehr also scored for the Capitals. Ovechkin got his 22nd goal this season and ninth on the power play, both NHL highs. Nicklas Backstrom and Mikhail Grabovski each had two assists.
Schmidt, a 22-year-old rookie, got his first NHL goal. Alzner, a six-year veteran, got his first career goal in 148 home games.
"That's what I'm here for. I'm a game-closer. The finisher, they could call me," joked Alzner, who has six career goals and said he had been aware of his failure to score at home since his rookie season.
In the dressing room, Schmidt had a wide smile as he posed for pictures with the puck.
"I've been used to previously having more points," he said. "Being a first-year defenseman, it's going to come."
Roman Josi scored the Predators' first goal at the end of the first period and fed Eric Nystrom for their other one with 16:08 left.
Nashville defenseman Shea Weber, playing for the first time since getting hit in the face by a puck on Nov. 28, also had an assist.
"We couldn't find a way to score. Obviously, we didn't have many power plays tonight (one) to try and build momentum," Weber said. "Same story, we've just got to find a way to put it in."
Washington took the lead after Nashville goalie Marek Mazanec (28 saves) failed to control a slap shot from the wing by Fehr. Battling a Predators defender, Brouwer got enough of his stick on the puck to trickle a backhand past Mazanec for his sixth goal.