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Capitals Double Up Predators


Even if it was a lucky bounce, the Washington Capitals will take it.

Adam Oates scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period as the Washington Capitals beat the Nashville Predators 4-2 Saturday night.

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  • Oates fired the puck from the left corner toward the crease, where it banked off Predators defenseman Bill Houlder's skate and past goalie Tomas Vokoun to snap a 2-2 tie at 5:56.

    "They got a lucky bounce, but that's what happens when you throw it at the net," Predators center Greg Johnson said. "We battled. We thought we deserved a better fate."

    Chris Simon had two goals and Sergei Gonchar also scored as the Capitals improved to 14-2-3 since Jan. 1.

    David Legwand and Patric Kjellberg scored for Nashville.

    Joe Murphy, who signed with Washington on Thursday after the Boston Bruins suspended him indefinitely, played a key role in Oates' goal.

    "Murph was open back door," Oates said. "I was passing it, and it went off a guy's skate. Joe's credentials are incredible. We just told Murphy to put things behind him and just play hockey."

    Murphy, the first player chosen in the 1986 draft, has 227 career goals. He skated on Washington's top line with Oates and Simon and was a plus-3.

    Legwand, playing for the first time since Jan 13 because of a broken left foot, got the opening goal on a first-period power play at 9:40.

    Gonchar tied it 1-1 on a power-play goal at 3:55 of the second period with a shot off the skate of Nashville's Craig Millar.

    Simon put the Caps ahead 2-1 just 1:18 later. He pounced on a loose puck in the left circle and beat Vokoun.

    Kjellberg tied it 2-2 at 15:11 of the second. Kjellberg was camped alone in the slot when Cliff Ronning spotted him with a pass from behind Caps goalie Olaf Kolzig, who made 29 saves.

    It was the 20th goal for Kjellberg, whom the Predators signed as a free agent in 1998 after he played the previous five seasons in his native Sweden.

    "Patric's been a guy that's sort of a hidden secret around the league," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said.

    Simon's second goal of the game came into an empty net with 48.7 seconds left.

    "We're on a great roll, but the Predators gave us as much as we've had for five or six weeks with the exception of Philadelphia," Capitals coach Ron Wilson said. "They were pressuring us all night long. They were irritating us and we were taking some stupid penalties."

    Nashville's Sergei Krivokrasov, the club's leading scorer with 25 goals last season, was a healthy scratch for the second time this season. Krivokrasov has just nine goals in 53 games this season.

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