It’s an interconference matchup on the ice in the Valley of the Sun. The Washington Capitals are on the road as they travel to face the Arizona Coyotes Thursday night. Washington lost their second straight game as they fell 5-3 to Vegas on the road Tuesday night. Arizona comes in off a 2-1 win over Los Angeles on the road Thursday night. The teams have split the 10 previous meetings with the Coyotes taking a 4-1 home win in the last matchup on November 18.
Washington Capitals Try to Get Back in Win Column
Washington dropped their second straight after a seven-game win streak as they dropped the opening game of this road trip. The Capitals entered Wednesday night with a one-point edge over Columbus for the Metropolitan Division lead and four ahead of the Rangers for a guaranteed playoff spot. Washington is 4th in the league with an average of 3.59 goals per game. The Capitals are below average so far this season in their own end, ranking 22nd in the league by allowing 3.22 goals a night. Washington is 7th in the league on the power play as they convert 26.4 percent of their chances. The Capitals are 23rd in the league in penalty killing as they kill off 76.2 percent of their shorthanded situations. Washington is 14-13 against the puck line this season while the over is 15-10-2 in those games.
The Capitals were unable to shut down the Golden Knights in the opener of their road trip. In a karmic balancing, headhunter Tom Wilson was knocked out of the game on a hit by Vegas’s Ryan Reaves. Washington outshot Vegas 9-7 in the opening period but the teams skated off after 20 minutes tied at one. After falling behind 1-0 early, Jakub Vrana knotted the score at 15:33 of the period with his seventh of the year. Brett Connolly drew the lone assist on the marker. In the second period, Washington outshot Vegas 10-9 and scored the lone goal of the period to take a 2-1 lead. Alex Ovechkin potted his 20th of the year at 11:42 with Connolly and Madison Bowey drawing the assists. The third period saw the Capitals outshot 11-8 in the stanza but what made it worse was them being outscored 4-1. After falling behind 3-2, Washington tied the game at three on Vrana’s second goal of the night and eighth of the season at 11:40 of the period. Evgeny Kuznetsov and Matt Niskanen drew the assists on the goal. The Capitals gave up the tiebreaking goal with 1:25 to go and then allowed an empty net goal in the closing seconds. Braden Holtby made 23 saves for Washington, who was outshot 28-26 in the game.
Arizona Coyotes Seek Fifth Straight Victory
Arizona rolled up a fourth straight victory as they took down Los Angeles on the road Tuesday night in their last game. The Coyotes look to ring up a fifth straight victory as they return home for this contest. The team comes into this one fifth in the Pacific Division, eight points back of the division-leading Flames and three back of the Sharks for the final guaranteed playoff spot. Arizona is 28th in the league as they’ve average 2.58 goals per game so far while the team is an impressive 4th in scoring defense by allowing 2.58 goals per game. The Coyotes come into this one tied for 24th on the power play as they have cashed in on 15.9 percent of their chances with the man advantage. Arizona is 1st on the penalty kill as they have successfully killed off 90 percent of their shorthanded situations on the season. The Coyotes are 17-9 against the puck line this season and the under has gone 15-11 in those contests.
The Coyotes played tough, physical hockey in their own zone and it paid off with a victory on the road. Arizona was outshot 8-7 in the first period but skated off with a 1-0 edge after 20 minutes. Lawson Crouse scored a shorthanded goal, his fifth of the year, at the 18:25 mark of the period to open the scoring. Josh Archibald and Niklas Hjalmarsson drew the assists on the goal. The second period saw the Coyotes outshot by the same 8-7 margin but they doubled their lead to take a 2-0 edge after 40 minutes. Nick Schmaltz scored the goal with a power play marker at 5:56 of the period with Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Clayton Keller drawing the assists. In the third period, the Coyotes were outshot 10-6 in the period and gave up a goal yet secured the victory. Adin Hill made 25 saves in the win for Arizona, who was outshot 26-20 in the game but came up with two points.
- Capitals are 0-4 in their last 4 Thursday games
- Coyotes are 4-0 in their last 4 overall
- Coyotes are 4-1 in their last 5 home games vs. a team with a winning road recor