NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Washington Capitals finally started to play better during the second period.
Against the Nashville Predators, it was more than enough time to get a victory.
Brooks Laich tipped in Alex Ovechkin's slap shot at 1:44 of overtime and the Capitals rallied to beat the Predators 3-2 on Saturday night.
The Capitals trailed 2-0 heading into the third, but Alexander Semin and Tomas Fleischman scored to force overtime.
``You could feel the tide turning,' Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said. ``They outplayed us so badly in the first 27 or 28 minutes of the game. You look up and you see that you're only down a goal or two goals, you've still got a chance. Every time we play these guys is like this. They're so fast. The fastest team, easily that we've seen.'
In the extra period, Ovechkin drew a tripping penalty on defenseman Ryan Suter. Less than a minute later, Ovechkin took a shot out near the blue line, and Laich, who also had an assist on Fleischman's goal, redirected it past Anders Lindback for his third goal this season.
``I had just told him before that, that when I'm going to be shooting the puck, don't try to tip it in front,' Ovechkin said. ``But he tipped it, and he made it.'
J.P. Dumont and Jordin Tootoo scored for Nashville.
Steve Sullivan had a chance to get a dramatic win for the Predators in the final seconds of regulation. He tried wrapping around the post only to be stopped by Michal Neuvirth, sending Nashville to its first loss.
Nashville outshot the Capitals 30-20 the first 40 minutes. Patric Hornqvist and Shea Weber each banged one off a post.
``We just figured that we want as many wins as possible, and it was an unsatisfying loss most definitely,' forward Joel Ward said.
The Capitals grabbed the momentum in the third. Semin had a power-play score at 4:33 for his second goal of the season and No. 150 in his career. Fleischmann tied it at 12:14, converting a wrister from up front.
Ovechkin, who entered with four goals and seven points, took over in overtime, powering the Capitals to their fourth consecutive victory since dropping the season opener at Atlanta.
``If you forgot how big he is, he's 230 pounds of pure muscle, speed and competitiveness,' Nashville coach Barry Trotz said of Ovechkin.
Nashville hosted the Capitals for the first time in 19 months, but they played twice in the preseason with the Predators wrapping up with a 3-0 exhibition win in Washington.
The Predators opened up where they left off against the defending President's Trophy winners, outshooting the Capitals 18-7 in the first period. Dumont gave the Predators the lead, beating Neuvirth from the right circle at 17:07.
Nashville extended its lead to two when Tootoo scored from the far boards with a wrister originally called a tip-in by Ward. But the puck redirected off Washington defenseman Brian Fahey's left skate and past Neuvirth at 5:32 of the second, giving Tootoo his first goal this season.
Boudreau said his Caps weren't working hard enough and they were embarrassed in the first. But they did kill off five power plays in the game, including 29 seconds of a 5-on-3 late in the first, and have yet to give up a goal when down a man this season.
Laich said they started getting pucks out of their own zone better to help tilt the ice.
``In the third period, I think we just took over,' Laich said.
Trotz wasn't happy with Nicklas Backstrom boarding center Marcel Goc late in the second period. Goc didn't return with an upper body injury, and Backstrom wound up assisting on the Capitals' first goal. Backstrom also had an assist on the overtime goal, too.
``I'm not real happy with the call. I thought he should have been out of the game, but I'm a coach not a ref,' Trotz said.
NOTES: Capitals D Mike Green was scratched with an upper-body injury suffered Wednesday night. D Tom Poti also was scratched with a lower body injury. So the Capitals recalled Fahey from Hershey of the AHL. ... Sullivan did not score, shut out for his first game this season after having four goals in the first three. ... Lindback picked up his first loss filling in for Pekka Rinne, who is expected back Tuesday against Calgary after missing three games with a lower body injury.
The Associated Press News Service
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