The Washington Capitals took on the Coyotes in Phoenix tonight, hoping to continue their win streak. It was an interesting game to say the least. Six goals, a fight, and too many penalties to count – including goaltender Mike Smith playing the puck over the center-ice line and earning himself a penalty. In the end it was the Coyotes howling in a shootout victory, and the Capitals continuing their streak, but on a different level – 5 straight games earning a point.
The Capitals and the Coyotes both had a good start to the game – the pace was fast and there was solid back and forth play. Up until the Coyotes power play, the Capitals were playing well – and they looked to be in the mood to continue their winning streak. Then the Coyotes went to the power play – Joel Ward was sent to the penalty box, blatant trip in the neutral zone unfortunately.
Shane Doan capitalized just 22 seconds into the man-advantage – he patiently netted the puck off a scrum/rebound right in front of the crease. Neuvirth was already down on the play and didn’t really have a chance, as Doan took his time, and basically just went around the sprawled out net-minder.
The Capitals had 1 full power play during the first period and couldn’t convert – the Coyotes specifically covered Ovechkin and any sort of passing lane to him, which was successful. The 2nd power play of the period was unsuccessful, during the first period – the man-advantage carried over to the second period though.
Just 38 seconds into the 2nd period, Troy Brouwer streaked down the side and crushed a slapshot top-shelf over Smith. Then, 3 minutes later, the Capitals were back on the power play. They proved for a 2nd time that Ovechkin isn’t the only player that can score on the power play. John Carlson was certainly trying to outshine Brouwer – he too put a rocket past Smith to put the Caps up 2-1.
The Capitals weren’t done in the second period though. After a slew of penalties, which saw the Coyotes Mike Smith even earning a penalty – the call was delay of game as he played the puck past the center-line. 5 -on- 5 hockey ensued as their was no scoring during all the penalties. Washington put one more on the board in the second period, it was Joel Ward who found himself right on the doorstep with the puck on his stick, and he made no mistake as he scored his 7th of the season. With 3 goals in the period, the Caps took over the lead, 3-1 Washington after 2 periods.
The third period saw the game revert back to the play of the beginning of the first period – back and forth with both teams getting a few decent chances on net. It wasn’t until later in the period that it became truly interesting. The Coyotes found some momentum as they scored 2 goals within minutes of each other. Lauri Korpikoski and Shane Doan both scored for Phoenix in the closing minutes of the third period. A 3-1 lead was squandered by the Capitals, and the game ended up going into overtime and eventually a shootout.
The overtime period started with the Capitals on the power play – Zbynek Michalek put his hold hand over the puck in the dying seconds of the game, which sent him to the penalty box. Washington was unable to finish off the Coyotes with the power play. The tides then turned, Phoenix began putting the pressure on late in the overtime period – they too also ended up empty handed though.
The shootout ended with the blink of an eye – the first 2 Coyotes shooters scored, and the Caps were sent packing. Neither Grabovski nor Ovechkin could make anything happen in the shootout. The Capitals lose a tough one in Phoenix.
On the plus side, it is one more point in the standings – and the Caps played well, up until the late letdown of course. The team has little time to recover as they head to Denver to take on the Colorado Avalanche tomorrow night.