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Arizona Coyotes drop close game to Washington Capitals

A couple of unlucky bounces and questionable calls are enough to do the Coyotes in against Washington.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Oliver Ekman-Larsson returned for tonight's game between the Arizona Coyotes and the Washington Capitals. But even his return was not enough to beat the NHL's best.

The Capitals took a late lead in the third period and held on to beat the Coyotes 3-2 in regulation at the Verizon Center in Washington D.C. in the first of five games on the East Coast.

Scoring Summary

First Period

Despite three Arizona power plays, neither team found the back of the net in the opening frame.

Second Period

1-0 Arizona: The Coyotes opened the scoring thanks to the team's hottest defenseman: Kevin Connauton. On a three-on-two play, Tobias Rieder drew both Washington defenders back further into the offensive zone and handed the puck off to Connauton. The move gave Connauton enough room to step into the high slot and rifle a shot past Braden Holtby. Assists to Rieder and Viktor Tikhonov on the goal at 3:25.

1-1 Tie: Washington's power play is stacked with talent, and it showed in Evgeni Kuznetsov's goal. Kuznetsov skated circles around Nicklas Grossmann in the near-side corner to create some space for himself. With Grossmann facing the wrong way and forced the play the pass, Kuznetsov shot the puck through his legs and behind Louis Domingue. Assists to Alex Ovechkin and Andre Burakovsky on the power play goal at 6:03.

Third Period

2-1 Washington: The world's deadliest goal-scorer proved exactly why he's been such a force in the NHL over the years. Alex Ovechkin took the puck from Justin Williams below the goal line, and skated it to the top of the faceoff circle. Rather than moving in, he ripped a shot that Louis Domingue was not quick enough to stop. Assists to Williams and Evgeny Kuznetsov on the goal at 8:17.

3-1 Washington: Arizona barely had time to recover before Tim Peel reminded everybody that he was officiating this game. A shot that Louis Domingue appeared to have under his glove. But the whistle didn't blow, Tom Wilson dislodged the puck, and Mike Richards corralled the rebound. Assists to Wilson and Jason Chimera on the goal at 8:43.

3-2 Arizona: The Coyotes put up a fight all game long, and the third period was no exception. After a faceoff win, Oliver Ekman-Larsson's wrist shot was blocked on the way in. The puck bounced perfectly to Connor Murphy's stick, and his shot while pinching slid past Holtby to bring the Coyotes to within one. Assists to Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Jordan Martinook on the goal at 9:43.

Stat Report

Arizona Coyotes Washington Capitals
First Period Shots 9 7
Second Period Shots 7 14
Third Period Shots 11 13
Total Shots 27 34
Power Play 0 for 6 1 for 4
Faceoff Wins 41 33
Save Percentage .912 .926

Paw Prints

  • For the Washington recap, check out Japers' Rink.
  • Klas Dahlbeck and Tyler Gaudet were both out as the Coyotes opted to skate seven defensemen.
  • Marcus Johansson was a scratch for the Capitals after missing the morning skate with an illness.
  • After playing 31:11 against St. Louis, Kevin Connauton only played 11:35 tonight.
  • Mikkel Boedker did not take a single shot tonight. He hasn't scored since February 4th versus Chicago.
  • Mike Richards' goal was his first since January 3rd, 2015.
  • Washington has won more games (44) through 58 contests this season than any other team in league history.

Looking Ahead

Arizona gets no time off, as they take on the Tampa Bay Lightning tomorrow night. Puck drop is at 5:30 Arizona time.