Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images
The Washington Capitals were downed by the Arizona Coyotes by a final score of 3-2 in overtime to open their set of back-to-back games against Pacific Division opponents. The loss was Washington’s third straight in Arizona. They haven’t beaten the Yotes on the road in regulation since 2006. Washington came in looking to set a season-high five game winning streak against the league’s worst team in the desert.
Capitals Lines vs. Coyotes
#Caps lines tonight in Arizona:
8-Ovechkin, 19-Backstrom, 43-Wilson
13-Vrana, 92-Kuznetsov, 77-Oshie
65-Burakovsky, 20-Eller, 10-Connolly
18-Stephenson, 83-Beagle, 39-Chiasson
Grubauer vs Wedgewood #CapsYotes
— Mike Vogel (@VogsCaps) December 23, 2017
Philipp Grubauer got the start to open the set of back-to-backs and Madison Bowey was a healthy scratch to get Taylor Chorney some playing time.
The Good: Despite some point-blank opportunities for Arizona in the first five minutes, Grubauer turned aside every Coyote shot. The Capitals limited the Coyotes to five shots on goal in the first 20 minutes. The Capitals won 69% of the faceoffs after a period of play. They only had two giveaways.
The Bad: The Capitals did not strike on their first power play and trailed in hits 11-5 after one.
The Ugly: The Capitals did not register a shot on goal until 10:21 into the game. They only had two shots on goal in the first frame, not including a Lars Eller shot early in the period that beat Coyotes goalie Scott Wedgewood but hit the post. Both of the Capitals’ shots came from defensemen.
Scoring: T.J. Oshie drew first blood for the Capitals at 5:40 of the period for his 11th goal of the year. Evgeny Kuznetsov fed Jakub Vrana in the front. Off his own rebound, Jakub Vrana threw a pass behind him to Oshie. Oshie pounced on the loose puck for the score.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) December 23, 2017
The Good: The Capitals outshot the Coyotes 10-6 in the second period and led 12-11 in shots through 40 minutes. The Capitals won 69% of the faceoffs through the middle frame. They had only four giveaways through two periods of play. T.J. Oshie scored his first goal since November 18 against Minnesota (nine games). The Capitals had 30 of their 42 shot attempts in the second period alone.
The Bad: The Coyotes led in hits 22-12 and in blocked shots 14-5.
The Ugly: The Capitals only had one takeaway through two periods. The Capitals forwards combined for four shots on goal through 40 minutes. Nicklas Backstrom and Andre Burakovsky were notable players who did not have shots in the game through two.
Scoring: Christian Dvorak tied the game at one 1:28 into the third period snipping it to the top of the left corner of the net from the right circle.
Evgeny Kuznetsov answered 3:04 later with his 12th goal of the season off of a rebound from Christian Djoos’ point shot. John Carlson fed it cross rink to Djoos and Kuznetsov pounced on a wide open net to take the lead. Carlson got his 24th assist of the season, two behind Kuznetsov for the team lead. Kuznetsov registered his second point of the night.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) December 23, 2017
The Coyotes tied it up when Christian Fischer put a loose puck by Grubauer. Clayton Keller deflected a shot from Jason Demers and Fischer pounced on the loose puck for his ninth goal of the year with 61 seconds left.
The Good: The Capitals only had four giveaways and Kuznetsov scored his team-leading 38th point of the year with two points tonight. The Capitals won 61% of the faceoffs. The Capitals gain a point in the standings to get back into first place in the division.
The Bad: The Capitals finished the game with only a single takeaway and the Coyotes doubled up on them in hits, outhitting the Capitals 33-17. The Coyotes blocked 19 shots while the Capitals only blocked 13. They only had five shots in the third period and 16 through regulation.
The Ugly: The Coyotes scored on their first power play. The Caps have allowed nine power-play goals in seven games in December. In 10 games this month, the Caps have given up nine power play goals on 30 opportunities (including PPGs in seven of 10 games played). They’ve given up five power play goals in their last four games. The Capitals gave up the game-tying goal right before the one minute mark. The 17 shots in the game marked the fewest shots in a game by the Capitals this season.
The contest would go to overtime for the third consecutive game for the Capitals.
Clayton Keller would end the game off of Max Domi’s rebound and put the loose puck past Philipp Grubauer. The Coyotes outshot the Capitals 6-1 in overtime.
Shots: Capitals – 17 Coyotes – 27
Blocked Shots: Capitals – 13 Coyotes – 19
Hits: Capitals – 17 Coyotes – 33
Power Play: Capitals – 0/2 Coyotes – 1/2
The Capitals visit the Vegas Golden Knights in their first ever clash with the newest NHL franchise. Vegas most recently downed top dog Tampa Bay in a thriller with defenseman Shea Theodore scoring the game-winner with 2.3 seconds left. The Golden Knights are currently second in the Pacific Division with 46 points. Nate Schmidt will play against his former team for the first time and former Capital center Cody Eakin will also be in the lineup for Vegas tomorrow. The game will be on NBC Sports Washington at 8:00 PM.
By Harrison Brown