It took 55 minutes of hockey, but the Predators eventually took the lead over the Washington Capitals and closed out a nail-biter of a 6-5 win.
The Capitals skated like the stronger team for the first two periods of the game; the fact that the Preds were able to come from behind with five minutes remaining shows a degree of poise and grittiness that we haven't seen out of this team in quite a while.
After a brutal turnover by Dante Fabbro in the Preds' zone, Washington's Lars Eller capitalized (no pun intended) off of a screen pass from Garnet Hathaway to begin the scoring. Fortunately for Nashville, Filip Forsberg, reentering the offensive zone completely unguarded, collected a centering pass from Matt Duchene and filip-ped it (I promise I'll stop now) over Braden Holtby's left pad to tie the game at 1. Mikael Granlund notched the secondary assist, and Duchene tacked on his seventh assist in four games.
At the beginning of the second period, Alex Ovechkin made his presence known with one of his signature one-timers, sending it through Pekka Rinne's five-hole from the point on a Capitals power play. Ryan Johansen responded a few minutes later after putting together an odd-man rush with Viktor Arvidsson and putting an impressive reaching goal past Holtby. The back-and-forth scoring halted there, or so it seemed. The Preds went on the power play after an interference call on Hathaway, but Washington's Chandler Stephenson took the puck right off Nick Bonino's stick and passed it to Tom Wilson, who scored a shorthanded goal against a stranded Ryan Ellis. It definitely wasn't a good look for the Preds, and it didn't get much better when Ovechkin scored his second power play goal of the night towards the end of the period. The Preds went into the second intermission down 4-2, looking defensively grim.
Peter Laviolette, with his intermission magic wand, waved some kind of good, timely juju into the Predators. Johansen jammed a power play goal (!) past Holtby amongst a tangle of fellow Preds and Capitals, with Arvidsson and Roman Josi assisting. A little over a minute later, we finally got what we've all been waiting for. Matt Duchene scored his first goal in gold, combining with Granlund and Forsberg in an impressive sequence that misdirected Holtby and two Capitals defenders, tying the game at 4. It was a beauty, if I may speak subjectively. More despair set in when T.J. Oshie ripped a top-shelf wrister past Rinne, giving the Capitals the lead again.
Then, fortunes turned. Bonino tied it up again with a goal he didn't even seem to realize he had nudged it past Holtby until Colton Sissons rushed him with his arms up. 30 seconds later, with four minutes and 40 seconds remaining in the game, Mattias Ekholm fired a slapshot off the crossbar that made everyone, including his linemates, jump out of their shoes (or skates). And that was all she wrote.