Game 16: Caps pay visit to the Music City to face Predators

Joel Ward returns to Nashville when the Caps visit the Preds tonight.

The Predators and their fans will get a look at a familiar face when the Capitals invade the Music City tonight. 

That face will be that of Joel Ward, the Preds playoff hero of a spring ago, who signed with the Caps this offseason. Ward had 13 points (7 G, 6 A) in 12 playoff games for the Preds last spring. 

While the Caps will have Ward on their side, they'll have to deal with Preds goalie Pekka Rinne, who is 8-4-3 with a 2.28 GAA and a .929 SV % this season after being a Vezina finalist last season. 

The Caps are 4-2 on the road this season, but two of the losses have come on the road against Western Conference teams, at Vancouver and Edmonton. The Preds are just 2-2-2 at home this season. 

Washington is off to a slow start in "Movember" so far, going 2-2-1 in five games. But the Caps are dealing with some injuries, including defenseman Mike Green, who returned on Saturday against the Devils only to leave with a lower-body injury. 

Tomas Vokoun should get the nod in net for the Caps, the Czech stopper is 8-2 in his first season with the Caps, and stopped 32 of 33 shots in his last start against New Jersey on Friday. He has a 2.39 GAA and a .921 SV % on the year for the Caps. 

The Caps are 4-3-1 all time in Nashville, and have won their last three visits to the Music City. 

Notes: 

  • Nicklas Backstrom's five-game point streak ended against the Devils on Saturday.
  • Preds rookie Craig Smith has 14 points (7 G, 7 A) this season, which leads all NHL rookies.
  • Nashville is fifth in the NHL with an 88.4% penalty kill success rate.