The Washington Capitals host the Arizona Coyotes on Monday night at 7:00 PM in the first matchup between the two teams this season. In 2018-19, the teams split the season series with the Capitals losing 4-1 at home on November 11, 2018, before securing a 4-2 victory on the road on December 6, 2018.
The Capitals have a 51% win percentage against the Coyotes, with a lifetime 35-32-12 record (24-11-5 at home). Action from Capital One Arena can be seen on NBC Sports Washington.
The Coyotes are 9-6-2 this season and are 0-2-1 during their first three-game winless streak of the season, and have blown a lead in four consecutive games. On Saturday, they blew a two-goal lead and lost 4-2 to the struggling Minnesota Wild on home ice.
The Coyotes’ lineup includes former Pittsburgh Penguin Phil Kessel, who the team acquired in a surprise move over the summer. The 31-year-old Kessel had 303 points in 328 games for the Penguins and added 56 points in 65 playoff games, which included a pair of Stanley Cup championships. Kessel has been a stalwart in the NHL since 2010, having missed games in only one of the last nine seasons. For the Coyotes, Kessel has recorded 10 points in the last 15 outings but only one point since November 2, when he recorded an assist and scored goal against Colorado.
The Coyotes third-line includes Conor Garland, Nick Schmaltz, and Clayton Keller and it packs an offensive punch. Garland has 10 points in 15 games this year, and 38 shots on goal this season.
On Saturday, Michael Grabner, Jakob Chychrun and Vinnie Hinostroza scored for the Coyotes, who twice failed to hold a two-goal lead. Grabner has four points (two goals, two assists) during a four-game point streak. Chychrun has four goals over the last six games, during which time he’s registered 22 shots on goal, perhaps signaling he is on the verge of a breakout season.
Arizona goalie Darcy Kuemper has lost consecutive starts for the second time this season and Saturday’s defeat marked the first time all year that he’s allowed more than three goals in a game. While giving up four goals in a loss to the low-scoring Wild is a disappointment, Kuemper has been terrific this season, going 7-4-0 with a 2.00 Goals-Against Average and .930 Save Percentage.
The Coyotes will be coming into Washington on Monday with a vengeance and looking for an opportunity to reverse their seemingly downward spiral.
Currently on a six-game win streak after defeating the Vegas Golden Knights 5-2 at home on Saturday, the Capitals enter the contest with a 13-2-3 record (5-1-2 at home).
After losing their first three home games (0-1-2), they have won their past five while outscoring opponents 24-9. The Capitals enter Saturday’s game with a league-leading 29 points and remain one of the NHL’s hottest, and most aggressive teams.
Defenseman John Carlson leads the league with 20 assists and is tied with Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand for the league-lead with 28 points. Captain Alex Ovechkin leads the Capitals with 13 goals, which is tied with Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Mathews for third-best in the league.
The Capitals’ second-line of Jakub Vrana, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Tom Wilson is proving a lethal combination that combines speed, agility, and skill to achieve top-line results. In the last four games, Wilson has scored four goals and added four assists (eight goals, seven assists in total).
Saturday night’s 5-2 win over the Golden Knights extended the Caps’ win and points streaks to six and 11 games respectively. The Caps have scored four or more points in 10 of the last 11 games and five or more seven times, and have scored in the first minute of play in the last two games.
Nicklas Backstrom netted the last two goals on Saturday night against the Golden Knights, giving the Capitals multi-goal scorers for eight straight games, extending their franchise record streak. It’s been more than six years since an NHL team exceeded a seven-game streak.
The Capitals’ 73 goals through 18 games ranks first in the NHL and the team is on pace for 332 goals scored, which would be the most goals they’ve recorded in a single season in franchise history. They have scored at least four goals in each of their last six games and at least three goals in all but two of their contests this season.
Their 25.0% power-play efficiency is tied for sixth in the league with the Buffalo Sabres, and their penalty kill rate of 85.1% ties them for fifth in the league with the New York Islanders. The PK success rate has increased from last year’s abysmal raking of 28th in the league largely due to contributions from Jonas Siegethaler, Radko Gudas, Carl Hagelin, and Nick Jensen who lead the Capitals in PK time.
Goaltender Braden Holtby, who is 8-1-3 with an .898 Save Percentage and a 3.25 Goals-Against Average this season, may get the nod against the Coyotes on Monday night. In six career regular season games against the Coyotes, the 30-year old is 4-2-0 with a .901 Save Percentage and a 2.50 Goals-Against Average.
- Streaks: The Capitals are on an 11-game point and a six-game win streak. During the streak, they have scored four or more goals 10 times and five goals seven times.
- Leaders: The Capitals are first in the league with 29 points and 73 goals
- Milestones: Defenseman John Carlson is two goals shy of 100 career goals
- Face-offs: Forward Lars Eller leads the Capitals in faceoff win percentage with a 56.3% over 18 games
- Goal Scoring: The Capitals have scored a goal in 40 of their last 45 periods of hockey, including 17 periods with at least two goals
By Stephanie Judge