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Coyotes take on soaring Capitals

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The Coyotes could give their fans the best Howliday gift with a win.

Arizona Coyotes v Washington Capitals Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Tonight the Arizona Coyotes take on Alex Ovechkin and the surging Washington Capitals. The Capitals are coming in to Glendale having won four straight games. The Coyotes are still trying to pull it all together during one of the worst seasons in franchise history.

View From Washington

For more information on the Capitals and their preview go to Japers’ Rink

The Capitals are struggling this season after losing some key players in the off-season, like Marcus Johansson, Karl Alzner and Nate Schmidt. Of course struggling for the back-to-back President’s Trophy winning team means that they are 2nd in their division and 8th in the league, so it’s all relative.

Recently the Capitals have returned to form with four straight wins against the Colorado Avalanche, Boston Bruins, Anaheim Ducks and Dallas Stars.

View From Arizona

The Coyotes played an excellent game against the Florida Panthers right up until the second half of the second period. They nearly doubled the Panthers in shots on goal but once the Panthers started scoring they didn’t stop. It was one of the most disappointing outcomes for the Coyotes all season because it was winnable.

Now the ‘Yotes have to rebound against the Capitals to end their losing skid at 6. This is the Coyotes 37th game and as Craig Morgan noted they are out of excuses. Moral victories won’t put butts in seats in Glendale the same way actual victories will. It’s beyond time for all of the veteran and young players to step up their game.

Three Questions

Who will shut down Ovechkin?

In previous seasons Connor Murphy was often tasked as the defender to take on Alex Ovechkin but now he’s playing for the Chicago Blackhawks. Will someone new step up? Will the Coyotes’ struggles give Ovechkin more opportunities to add to his record of 7-9-16 in his 16th game against them?

Who gets the start?

Head Coach Rick Tocchet said that both Antti Raanta and Scott Wedgewood will get to play in this weekend’s back-to-back games. So far it hasn’t been announced which goalie will be starting for each game.

Will we see a Wilson/Schenn rematch?

For some reason Tom Wilson seems to have it out for the Schenn brothers. In their last meeting in the nation’s capital Wilson and Luke Schenn came together for some fisticuffs. Will it happen again tonight?

Players to Watch

Arizona- Clayton Keller: The Coyotes most dynamic rookie has recently started tallying more points on the scoresheet after a brief lull. Can he keep p the momentum?

Washington- Evgeny Kuznetsov: Alex Ovechkin is always worth the price of admission but Kuznetsov is right on his heels the season. He’s currently sitting back just one point shy of the Capitals scoring leader. Also his goal celebrations are fun to watch.

Injury Report

Arizona:

Niklas Hjalmarsson is still out with an upper-body injury and is on IR.

Washington

The Capitals are all healthy.

Puck Drop

Puck drops at 7 pm on Fox Sports Arizona and Fox Sports Go. You can also catch ‘Heeter and Biz’ on the radio on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.