NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Monday, February 14th
(All times eastern)
Washington Capitals (29-17-10) at Phoenix Coyotes (29-19-9), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Capitals were unable to pick up some momentum before
heading out west for a few games. The Coyotes, on the other hand, appear to be
playing on titled ice.
Washington begins a five-game road trip hoping to avoid a third straight loss,
while Phoenix tries for its fifth straight victory in tonight's meeting at
The Capitals got off to a great start on Saturday versus the Kings when Alex
Ovechkin scored on the team's first shot just 66 seconds in. However,
Washington failed to find the scoreboard again in an eventual 4-1 setback.
Semyon Varlamov made 24 saves but allowed three third-period goals as the
Capitals fell to 2-3-2 over their past seven games. The first three contests
of this road trip are out west against Phoenix, Anaheim and San Jose.
"We outworked [the Kings] in the first, got outworked in the second and all we
had to do was outwork them in the third to start off a tough road trip,"
Washington head coach Bruce Boudreau said.
The Caps, who trail the Lightning by five points for first place in the
Southeast Division. have won three of their past four on the road, but visit a
Coyotes club that has won its last four games.
Phoenix began its current win streak with consecutive shutouts before picking
up a pair of post-regulation victories. The Coyotes downed the Stars, 3-2, in
overtime Wednesday on Radim Vrbata's power-play goal, then watched the forward
play hero again with the lone shootout tally of Saturday's 3-2 victory over
Vrbata went wide right in the second round and brought the puck over to his
backhand before roofing it into the net. Ilya Bryzgalov followed with saves on
Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa.
"I was able to hang onto it a little bit, kind of wait a little bit more and
found an opening," said Vrbata, who also scored in regulation to give him four
tallies in three games.
Taylor Pyatt also scored and Bryzgalov ended with 31 saves for the Coyotes,
who trail the Stars and Ducks by a point for first place in the Pacific
Bryzgalov faced the Capitals for the first time in his career last season and
gave up three goals on 33 shots in a 4-2 setback. Ovechkin scored into an
empty net and teammate Alexander Semin had a goal and three assists.
Washington had lost two straight and four of five versus Phoenix prior to that
home win and has just a pair of victories and two ties in its last eight trips
to the desert.
Varlamov has never faced Phoenix, with Michal Neuvirth making 28 saves in last
02/14 10:29:24 ET