WASHINGTON — Ryan McDonagh scored the go-ahead goal late in the third period, Kevin Lankinen made 30 saves and the Nashville Predators beat the Washington Capitals 3-2 Friday night for their third straight win.
Lankinen was sharp, even though he did not have to face as heavy a workload as teammate Juuse Saros in Nashville’s previous game. Saros stopped a franchise-record 64 shots Thursday at Carolina and got some much-deserved rest.
The rest of the players did not get that break, with the Predators and Capitals each playing on the second half of a back-to-back. McDonagh’s goal with 3:16 left was a highlight-reel move to the net and finish by the defensive defenseman far more known for keeping the puck out of his team’s net.
Thomas Novak and Yakov Trenin also scored for Nashville, which is 4-0-1 in its last five games to inch closer to a playoff position in the Western Conference.
Sonny Milano and Nicolas Aube-Kubel scored for the Capitals, making the case they deserve to stay in the lineup when top forwards Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson make their season debuts. Anthony Mantha, another candidate to get scratched when Backstrom and Wilson are back from long-term injuries, played just 9:48.
Charlie Lindgren made a few big saves among his 19 in net for Washington and was hardly to blame for Nashville’s goals. The Capitals have lost three of their past five games and had their nine-game point streak snapped.
NOTES: Center Nic Dowd returned for the Capitals after missing their game Thursday for the birth of his second child. Aliaksei Protas was a healthy scratch to make room for Dowd, the first time he has missed a game this season. … Dante Fabbro replaced Roland McKeown on defense for Nashville.
Predators: At Ottawa on Monday in the first stop of a three-game Canadian swing.
Capitals: Host the Blue Jackets on Sunday after beating them 6-2 Thursday in Columbus.
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