Beep beep! The Caps roll through Arizona for a Friday night tilt with the Coyotes. This is the Capitals’ third stop in the five-game road trip. Washington comes into the weekend having won six in a row after beating the Minnesota Wild in thrilling fashion Tuesday and the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday night. Puck drop is at 10:00 PM.
The Capitals (51-17-8, 110 points) will aim for their seventh win in a row Friday night. Their six-game winning streak has helped them get some breathing room in a tight Metropolitan Division race. Columbus is in second place with 105 points, while Pittsburgh is just behind them with 103. The Capitals and Blue Jackets will see each other this Sunday.
Washington also has a legitimate shot at winning the President’s Trophy for the second straight year. The Blackhawks (105 points) are tied with the Blue Jackets for second in the league.
Nicklas Backstrom leads the Capitals in points with 82 and in assists with 60 and has been on a tear lately. Backstrom has recorded four multi-assist games in his last eight games and ranks second in the NHL in assists while tied for third in points. Alex Ovechkin (33 goals) and T.J. Oshie (32 goals) are neck and neck for goal-scorer glory. Both were epic on Tuesday night, with Ovi getting a hat trick and Oshie scoring the game-winner.
The Coyotes (27-41-9, 63 points) are having a rough season as they have the second-fewest points in the entire NHL. Arizona has dropped four straight games and seven of their last eight, but this is an opponent the Caps cannot take lightly. Washington fell to them 3-0 last year in Arizona.
The Coyotes signed Clayton Keller to an entry-level contract earlier in the week. Keller was drafted seventh overall in 2016 and made his debut on Wednesday in their 3-1 loss to the Blues. Radim Vrbata is the leading point scorer for the Coyotes. He leads the team with 18 goals, 35 assists and 53 points. Alex Goligoski is just behind Vrbata in assists, with 26.
Mike Smith will likely start in goal for the Coyotes. He is 18-25-8 with a 2.96 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage.
DID THESE GUYS JUST MEET?
The Capitals and Coyotes met before the Capitals began this five-game road trip. Washington got a 4-1 win.
- Washington has posted four winning streaks of six or more games this season.
- This is the first season in franchise history the Capitals have posted four winning streaks of six or more games. (Elias Sports Bureau)
Game Notes at Arizona, 3/31/17 (Capitals PR)
Caps Seek Seventh Straight Win on Friday in Arizona (Mike Vogel)
The Peerless Prognosticator is ON THE AIR!!! — Game 77: Washington Capitals at Arizona Coyotes, March 31st
By Michael Marzzacco