The Washington Times - November 16, 2011, 11:43AM

NASHVILLE, Tenn. | For select games of the 2011-12 Washington Capitals season, The Washington Times will do a “Film Study,” looking at key plays and how they happened. Here’s a look at Nashville’s two goals Tuesday that sparked its 3-1 win over the Caps:

4:18 left in third

SEE RELATED:


The Caps had just taken the lead on an impressive wrist shot by Troy Brouwer, who jumped on for his shift as Marcus Johansson and Cody Eakin were finishing theirs. Brouwer stayed on with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom.

The breakdown starts in the neutral zone, as Martin Erat is able to pick up the puck along the left wall after a defenseman poked it away and past Ovechkin. Erat gets it to Ryan Suter, who skates it over the blue line as several Predators teammates enter the zone at around the same time as Suter and the puck.

“A couple guys on our side said it possibly could’ve been offside,” Brouwer said afterward. “I don’t know. It doesn’t matter now.”

That’s where the problem happened, according to coach Bruce Boudreau.

“I think all the guys on the ice thought it was offside, so they stopped playing,” Boudreau said. “And [the Predators] didn’t stop playing. That’s why you have to play to the whistle. Just looking at the replay, guys were putting up their hands and they stopped skating, and they kept coming. That’s why it looked so easy.”

Replays clearly show the play was onside.

Suter gets the puck to center Mike Fisher as Shea Weber streaks down the right wing and Erat sneaks behind the defense to the net. From there, it is “easy” as Weber slides a perfect pass to Erat in the crease to tie the score. Tomas Vokoun had no chance of stopping that shot.

What was that feeling like, just 28 seconds after taking the lead?

“From winning to losing. From putting ourselves in an unbelievable spot to win a hockey game to scrambling,” Brouwer said. “And even though the game was tied, you lose the momentum like that, you feel like you’re behind.”

Click here to watch video of that goal.

24.3 seconds left in third

The biggest defensive miscue of the night came at the most inopportune of times, but it was also brought to you by some legitimate hustle from Colin Wilson. The 22-year-old Predators forward saw the puck skidding down the left side of the ice and chased it, slipping past Dennis Wideman and then beating John Erskine to the puck.

The rest is explained in Boudreau’s words:

“They shot it down and John Erskine went in the corner, lost his stick and when they came out, we had all our guys back and then the two guys that were in front, they vacated the area and their guy that initially passed to the guy that was behind the net just came running through the slot. I think Tomas committed a little early and they passed it to an open net.”

After Wilson wins the puck battle, he dangles patiently in the offensive zone as Erskine, Wideman and Jason Chimera all get back. The problem is, they’re not stopping anyone’s forward progress.

All three Caps defenders are in the right faceoff circle as Erat glides by and parks himself to Vokoun’s right, at the edge of the crease. Erskine is, indeed, without a stick, and Wilson has enough space to thread a pass to Erat.

When Vokoun turns to face him (his job is to stop the shooter), Wilson cuts to the net as Erat buys time and lures Wideman with him. Brooks Laich and Jason Chimera try to converge on Wilson, but it’s too late. Erat’s pass finds him open enough, and Wilson doesn’t miss.

“It was two against three. I don’t know what the defense was doing there, and Willy gave me a great puck down low, and I was by myself in front of the net,” Erat said. “Willy was coming he was almost two-on-none, I don’t know what happened there; it was just probably their mistake on the defense.”

Vokoun seemed equally as puzzled.

“I even don’t know what really happened on the second goal, why the guy was all alone in front of the net. There was actually two guys – the guy who make that deke and went behind the net was by himself for a second,” the Caps goalie said. “It was basically one against four our guys coming into the zone. We can’t blame anybody but ourselves. We basically give them the win.”

Click here to watch video of that goal.