The Arizona Coyotes start a lengthy road trip with a trip to Verizon Center for a meeting with the NHL’s best team. Rookies Max Domi, Anthony Duclair and Louis Dominque have been solid for the Coyotes and of course the Capitals have their own share of young superstars. Marcus Johansson did not play in this game due to illness.
First Period: Capital Penalties
The Capitals started out fast and spent more time in the Arizona zone than their own zone. Jason Chimera was his normal speedy self and had some scoring chances.The Capitals penalty kill remained effective as Justin Williams took a seat in the penalty box twice. The Capitals captain took a seat in the final minute of the first period for boarding Jordan Martinook.
Goaltenders Braden Holtby and Louis Domingue remained spotless after one period.
PENALTIES: Justin Williams for hi-sticking (X2) and Alex Ovechkin for boarding
Second Period: Kuzy Ties the Game.
Coyote Kevin Connauton scored on a 3-on-2 to open the night’s scoring. Jason Chimera got a breakaway immediately after but he could not settle a rolling puck. The Capitals got their first power play of the game and Evgeny Kuznetsov scored on the man advantage. The Capitals would get more chances on the power play but Arizona goaltender Domingue was solid, stopping the Caps from taking the lead. The Coyotes went to the power play late in the second. Jason Chimera and Oliver Ekman-Larsson exchanged some punches and heated words at the bench as the period ended.
GOALS: Kevin Connauton scores his 4th of the season (Assists: Thomas Reider and Viktor Tikhonov); Evgeny Kuznetsov scored his 18th of the season (Assists: Alex Ovechkin and Andre Burakovsky)
PENALTIES: Martin Hanzal (slashing); Michael Stone (Hi-sticking); Antoine Vermette (tripping) and Tom Wilson (charging)
SCORE: Tied 1-1
Third Period: Richards First As a Cap!
There would be no penalties from the scrum at the end of the second. The Capitals would go to the power play once more but no goals. Then Ovechkin would score to give the Capitals their first lead of the night, 2-1. 26 seconds later, Mike Richards scored his first goal as a Capital. Richards received two standing ovations for his first Caps goal. Arizona was not pleased after Richards put the rebound past Domingue. The Coyotes got within a goal a minute later. The Capitals would hold the Coyotes to no shots on goal on a later power play and would be victorious over the Coyotes.
Mike Richards shot and first goal as a Washington Capital.
GOALS: Alex Ovechkin scored his 39th of the season (Assists: Justin Williams and Evgeny Kuznetsov); Mike Richards scored his 1st of the season and the game-winning goal, (Assists: Tom Wilson and Jason Chimera); Connor Murphy scored his 5th of the season (Assists: Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Justin Martinook)
PENALTIES: Jared Tinordi (holding); Alex Ovechkin (illegal stick); Nicklas Backstrom (tripping)
SCORE: Caps win 3-2.
The Capitals are still the NHL’s best team (44-10-4, 92 points) and Arizona provided a good battle. There were times the Caps looked a little sloppy out there, maybe the season is wearing on them. Coach said later that he doesn’t believe they have become complacent. They still want to win and they still play each game to win.
Just keep on, keeping on Caps.
The Capitals will practice at 11:30am on Tuesday at Kettler Capitals Iceplex.
The next game is on Wednesday at Verizon Center against the Montreal Canadiens.
Written By: Renee Garces
Photos By: Brittney Marcum and Mel Abernethy