Capitals Blank Arizona, 4-0; Strome Scores Twice vs. Team That Drafted Him

Photo by @Capitals

The Washington Capitals shut out the Arizona Coyotes by a score of 4-0 at ASU’s Mullett Arena on Thursday night to lift to within one point behind the New York Rangers (who have two games in hand) for third place in the Metropolitan Division and get five points up on the Pittsburgh Penguins (four) for the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Arizona lost nine straight in regulation before a 4-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday. Goaltender Darcy Kuemper made 27 saves in his first game visiting his former squad as a Capital and earned his league-leading fifth shutout of the season.

Capitals’ Lines at Arizona

Alex Ovechkin — Dylan Strome — Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Sonny Milano — Nicklas Backstrom — Tom Wilson
Conor Sheary — Lars Eller — T.J. Oshie
Marcus Johansson — Evgeny Kuznetsov — Garnet Hathaway

Erik Gustafsson — Trevor Van Riemsdyk
Dmitry Orlov — Nick Jensen
Alexander Alexeyev — Martin Fehervary

Darcy Kuemper
Charlie Lindgren

Scratched: LW Anthony Mantha, D Matt Irwin

Injured: F Nic Dowd (lower body), D John Carlson (upper-body, missed 12th straight game, out indefinitely); RW Connor Brown (ACL, 44th, indefinite); LW Carl Hagelin (hip, 48th, indefinite)

After Tuesday’s 4-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild, Alexeyev replaced Irwin in the only lineup change.

Arizona’s Lines

Clayton Keller — Barrett Hayton — Nick Schmaltz
Lawson Crouse — Nick Bjugstad — Dylan Guenther
Nick Ritchie — Jack McBain — Christian Fischer
Josh Brown — Travis Boyd — Zack Kassian

Jakob Chychrun — Shayne Gostisbehere
Jusso Valimaki — Troy Stecher
Patrik Nemeth — J.J. Moser

Karel Vejmelka
Connor Ingram

Scratched: LW Michael Carcone

Injured: LW Liam O’Brien (upper-body, 17th, week-to-week), LW Matias Maccelli (lower-body, 13th, week-to-week), LW Andrew Ladd (knee, 45th, entire season)

First Period


3:03, 1-0 Washington: Strome scored on a tip off of Orlov’s shot off the faceoff. It was his second straight game with a goal and 10th of the season.

Aube-Kubel laid a huge hit.

Shots: 7-7

Second Period


17:32, 2-0: Milano snapped one past Vejmelka after getting a feed from Wilson. Since making his Capitals debut on Nov. 5 vs. Arizona, Milano ranks tied for second on the team in goals (Ovechkin: 24; Johansson/Milano: eight).

18:41, 3-0 (PPG): Wilson tipped in a shot by Orlov in front. Kuznetsov’s 15 power play points (11 assists) rank second on the team (Ovechkin: nine goals, 17 points).

Shots: 20-14 Washington (including 13-7 in the second)

Third Period


8:41, 4-0: Strome tipped in Kuznetsov’s feed wide open in the back door after Vejmelka robbed Johansson’s wrister from the slot. Strome’s 11 goals this season are tied with Sheary and Johansson for the second-most on Washington. It marks Kuznetsov’s 376th career assist, passing Dale Hunter for the sixth-most assists in franchise history.

Shots: 32-27 Washington (13-12 Arizona in the third)

Other Notable Stats: Washington went one-for-four on the power play and three-for-three on the penalty kill. They also led 21-19 in hits but Arizona had a 17-7 advantage in blocked shots. Washington had eight giveaways while Arizona tallied 15.

Washington’s five shutouts as a team this season are tied with the Carolina Hurricanes for the most in the NHL.

The Capitals improve to 9-1-0 in their last 10 road games dating back to Dec. 5. During that span, Washington has outscored their opponents 43-20.

Next game: Saturday at Vegas Golden Knights (10 PM ET, NBC Sports Washington in-market, ESPN+ out-of-market)

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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50 Responses to Capitals Blank Arizona, 4-0; Strome Scores Twice vs. Team That Drafted Him

  1. Anonymous says:

    Capitals rock the Mullet!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Good effort. Vegas will be a much stiffer test. Let’s go!

  3. hockeydruid says:

    It seemed to me that putting Kuzy on the 4th line kicked his arse into a higher gear, at least for tonight. Lets try the same lineup against Vegas!!

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Agree Druid. Seemed like an odd line assignment on the surface, but in hindsight now, something noticeable has changed/elevated in his game in the last two.

      • Anonymous says:

        He was flying out there. When he skates hard and is patient with the puck, good things happen.

        • novafyre says:

          What impressed me was the number of times that the camera caught him giving directions to teammates, being the general on the ice.

        • KimRB says:

          The problem I have with this, is that was Kuzy flying out there because he truly got the message, or was it because it’s Arizona, a weak opponent.

          I’ve lost track of the number of times Kuzy has been up and down, in his career. The most maddening Washington Capital since Michal Pivonka. Both blessed with enormous talent, and both as driven as to succeed as a polar bear to migrate to Florida.

          Wish I could transplant Dale Hunter’s heart into him.

  4. James says:

    Yeah, I agree. With the assortment of talent, we have on this team, it seems the line # is not descriptive of what you can expect. Maybe we sell at the trade deadline because we have too many good players right now.

    • Anonymous says:

      They should sell (Eller and Hathaway, maybe Mantha if they bring in a guy with term) and improve the RW depth. NAK and to a lesser extent Protas can play that role and have more upside, but with Oshie’s and Wilson’s recent injuries, it’d be wise to bring in another goal scorer. Guys like Horvat, Kane, Tarasenko, and JVR will probably be too expensive, but Domi and Nyquist could be helpful, and Drouin may be worth a roll of the dice. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to ask about next year’s UFAs too, like Henrique and Roslovic.

  5. Hockey Mom says:

    Nic Dowd was not mentioned — injured?? why?

  6. horn73 says:

    I can’t stop thinking about next season and what GM will do with the roster. I mostly think about defense since only one is locked up, but when I think about center….

    I don’t think they trade Kuzy, lets say he is #1
    I do think they sign Strome, likely to a bridge contract, he’s the 2
    I think if 19 stays healty, he is the 3
    Dowd was extended and will be the 4

    Eller will be thanked for his incredible time with the team, but will be playing elsewhere

    If I am right, I think they trade CMM as I do not think he is a wing and I don’t think another year of AHL is needed…

    So, even if you disagree with them keeping Kuzy, CMM not LaPierre is ready for the 1 or 2 probably. I don’t know that Backy is the 2??

    If they sign someone, would love Horvat, but if they did do something awesome like that, they Kuzy is likely gone and then CMM and LaPierre are even further bottled up.

    Would love y’all’s thoughts on what the center position looks like next season.

    • Mark Eiben says:

      I definitely think/hope they re sign Strome but I think he gets not a bridge deal…something like 5 yrs and 6 million per year.

      • KimRB says:


        Can’t say I’m on board with that. I see why you’d want him long term, but I could also see that contract become a Titanic size anchor around the team’s neck. I’m OK with a max of 3 years.

        • Mark Eiben says:

          My thinking is just Caps won’t rebuild as long as Ovi is here and effective which I think (barring injury) is another 3 or 4 years. Signing a 26 year old for 5 years is no issue for me as he could be one of your few top players/pieces during a rebuild anyway. I don’t think it’s a risk. He works great with Ovi too.

      • horn73 says:

        I think that is a bridge deal, similar to what Wilson signed and Orlove. Lock them up before they can become a UFA.

    • KimRB says:

      A thought or two: I doubt you could have both Kuznetsov and Horvat on the same team. Ain’t gonna work cap wise.

      I personally wouldn’t trade CMM, and I think his struggles had less to do with himself, than being misused by PL. You’re not likely to succeed in the NHL being moved from your natural position, and getting 6 minutes/game. I can reference former Cap Jason Allison. He was a big time prospect, but was buried on the 4th line, by Jim Schoenfeld. He had some strong seasons in Boston, after being traded for Adam Oates, but his poor skating ultimately sunk his career. McMichael is a better skater. I don’t want him to be another Burakovsky.

      Having too many centers is a good dilemma to have. Another possibility is sign and trade Strome, whose rights we retain, as he will be RFA. I guess it all depends on if PL is back next year.

      • horn73 says:

        I agree Kim, I don’t want to trade CMM, but I also don’t want to trade Strome. He gives us some youth (sort of), but has proven a certain level of ability with what seems to be upside. Can Strome be the 1 and CMM the 2 and trade Kuzy for a legit top line defender???

        As much as I want the Caps to make the playoffs and win a Cup, the uniqueness of this offseason is what is so interesting to me. This team can be completely made over. The Caps will not have to re-build if they handle this offseason well, which I think they will.

        • Mark Eiben says:

          Just to add to discussion with you and Kim…after this season Kuzy, Backy and Dowd have 2 more years left. Signing Strome as a top 6 center to go with your young CMM and Lapierre for that time is pretty good center foundation.

        • KimRB says:

          We’re on the same page here! This is a unique off-season, and gives the team a lot of flexibility. Personally I would chuck everything and take on other teams’ bad contracts, with a little sweetener, in the form of pucks and prospects. But Leonsis won’t do that, because of Ovi’s goal chase. Best we can hope for is a retool on the fly.

          Isn’t this more fun than snarking at each other?

          • horn73 says:

            LOL, yes it is, but i only snarked at Druid. I think his post of late have been solid to say the least. The post I got into it about was awful, but anyway,…yes, I love “talking” about things like this and ideally being positive : )

            I’m not a fan of your idea of taking on picks for bad contracts. “re building:” (getting picks is not easy). Look at Strome – #3 pick and on his 3rd team. Look at New Jersey, Arizona, Edmonton, Buffallo and how long they have failed at rebuilds. Even with top picks you need serious luck.

            The Caps luck now is that they have some older players that have and are defying the odds like Brady.

            You luck up Strome, Kuzy has plenty of career left and if not, sigh a #1 center and the Caps have some good solid middle six talent coming up and possibly a couple stars – no Ovi and Backy maybe, but hall of famers are tough to find.

            I think a rebuild on the run is going to work well for this organization.

            • KimRB says:

              You snarked at me a bit. I’m a old veteran of Snark Wars, so it didn’t hurt my feelings, but I’d rather keep things civil, and have fun. I’ve had some raucous conversations over the years, that didn’t once become personal, and these can be entertaining, and informative.

              The reason I advocate bad contracts for picks, is this coming draft is supposed to be very deep. You could fill a couple of organizational holes, such as top line center, this coming summer. It’s forward heavy, so the idea would be to stock up on high end forwards, then perhaps deal some of them to fill needs later on down the line. I like the maneuvering of a good GM. In some idle time I’ve looked at the recaps of NHL entry drafts, and also the trades that were made. It’s fascinating to see a pick traded 5 or 6 times. Real life isn’t fantasy hockey. You don’t draft your team, then watch them win. Often it takes years to reap the benefits of a transaction.

              Prospects fail all the time, but you don’t build a Stanley Cup winner without them. Look back at every Cup winner of the cap Era, and you’ll see that pretty much all of them had a rebuild that directly led to their Cup.

              Buffalo and New Jersey are trending in the right direction. Buffalo is a handful now, and will be better with solid goaltending. Powers and Dahlin are two future #1 defensemen.

              • Dan Hornbaker says:

                True about Buffalo and New jersey (New jersey is falling in the standings though. But both have been irrelevant for 3 rebuilds time periods (15 years plus). Edmonton more like 30 years (same with Buffalo). Detroit 7 years in or so (also trending in right direction with great gm), but so many misses.

                I’d rather avoid that at all cost, try to revamp this off season and then add key pieces via free agency.

                Caps go 10 years into rebuild and you won’t see many of the same names on these boards. I remember the days in the 70’s and early 80’s before the Ryan Walter / Langway, Locker and 2 others deal and then the Kelly Miller Ridley deal.

                As much as I want Cups, I want competitive team the most that is fun to watch.

                • Mark Eiben says:


                • KimRB says:

                  I’m a different kind of fan, because I enjoy a smart rebuild. It’s fun to watch a group of kids grow into a formidable unit. Our own Caps were a mess in 2004, they made the playoffs in 2008. Colorado was 7th in the Central in 2017, they won the Cup in 2022. Buffalo is more fun to watch than the Caps right now.

                  Rebuilds that take ten years aren’t fun. But done right… LA in the late 2000s, Tampa at that time too. The Rangers sent an email to their season ticket holders, saying they were rebuilding, and asking for patience. Now look at them. For every example you come up with a ten year rebuild, I can probably come up with one that produced a winner in about 5 years, or so

                  • Horn73 says:

                    Perhaps your conclusion is correct, but even if so, what does that mean – a winner?? The Caps are just as much of a threat as the Rangers.Caps can stay just as competitive as the Rangers without a deep dive to rebuild and that is with the Caps dealing with incredible injuries to several of their best players.

                    Yes, Buffalo is fun to watch after 20 years of not being so. Mentioning them does not support your position positively.

  7. Jon Sorensen says:


  8. Mark Eiben says:

    Heads up Jon and Harrison. You might have heard the VOX media news in relation to Japers Rink. Not sure if they continue after Feb. Don’t know all the details. I hope this gets you guys much more traffic. I always click on your site 1st each day for Caps updates because you are the 1st to break all Caps news. Good luck. 😉

    • KimRB says:

      Interesting. I like this site because they keep track of prospects, and the conversation is civil (usually).
      Another blog that I shan’t name gives more news on players’ weddings and babies, than prospects. Im looking for hockey news, not TMZ.
      If we get new posters here, I hope it doesn’t become a snarkarama, or filled with political non-sequiturs. Politics can stay on Breitbart or HuffPo, it doesn’t belong on a hockey blog.

      • Mark Eiben says:

        Very good post. 😉 I agree Nova Caps gives you the good stuff and fast. I sometimes don’t mind the occasional one off topic but you won’t find me posting on that stuff. The only one I have liked is when they mention Dowd and his charities focus on Autism. My 11 year old has Autism. He is pretty capable and functions very well socially and in life so I am very lucky. Sorry to digress…

        • horn73 says:

          I agree as well. I like some snarky things though. You write dumb things, it is ok to be called on it, but I get your point and totally on board with no politics.

          I love the effort Jon and his team put into this place. I wish there were more threads like this one.

          BTW, my Caps fandom started early on in the late 70’s, Guy Charon was my first favorite player. I am down in DFW now after about 6 years in Denver area. Grew up in Darnestown MD (Gaithersburg).

          • KimRB says:

            Wichita Falls here. Lived in DFW ten years. Grew up in MD, moved to Texas in 2001

            BTW I was at the American Airlines Center for Connor McDavid’s first goal. I’d be in the video of it, but the score ribbon is blocking me, at least in the video I’ve seen on YouTube. My one chance at stardom, trickled through my fingers!

            I used to run into Miro Heiskanen, at his first condo. And Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, in their neighborhood. Good guys, but Seguin is a bit of a jerk

        • horn73 says:

          Glad to hear that your son is doing well Mark!!

    • novafyre says:

      I like the fact that the hosts here are such good hosts. Some hosts at other sites are either invisible or inconsiderate and unhelpful. Even when a question is directed at them.

      But, fan sites are businesses and expenses are going up for everyone. I have cut back on my subscriptions this past year and will probably have to cut some more this year. Cut AHLtv and ESPN+ last year. Am worried about what model Monumental will go to now that they own NBCSW. So I hope that the SB Nation hockey sites can find a way to keep going but I know it won’t be easy.

  9. dwgie26 says:

    yeah… this is a great blog site with quality articles from multiple writers. The prospect info is the best. I like HockeysFuture as a compliment to this. No articles, just discussion, but you better be willing to drop the gloves, which like Dan, I don’t mind doing. I think I ran off a guy off NovaCaps earlier this year who posted irrational rants.

    This is a deep draft coming up, but I have no interest in dumping a bunch of players for picks. I think at best we move 1 player if we are in contention for playoffs. Depends on which player gives you the best return and doesn’t disrupt the team too much. Mantha (Protas replaces) Hathaway (NAK replaces), Eller (Mojo/Protas/CMM as replacements if injuries). I don’t think we move any defensemen or goalies.

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