The Arizona Coyotes dropped their eighth straight game tonight, falling 2-0 to the Washington Capitals. Arizona’s offense completely dried up, and if not for rookie goaltender Karel Vejmelka it wouldn’t have been as close as it was.
For the second time this week, the Coyotes spent most of the first period searching for their first shot on goal. Arizona finally registered a shot with less than four minutes left in the period, and they finished the period being outshot 14-4.
And the near-constant penalties weren’t helping to get the offense going. The Coyotes actually had the first power play of the game, only for Lawson Crouse to take a penalty 27 seconds later, negating the man advantage. Unfortunately, poorly timed penalties would prove to be a recurring problem in the game, and they killed any momentum the team may have had.
By the start of the third, the Coyotes were being outshot 25-10 and had taken five penalties. Nevertheless, Vejmelka stood on his head through 40, making some genuinely astonishing saves and keeping the score tied at zero.
The Coyotes looked solid enough to start the third period. The team had gotten a few good looks throughout the game, but they just couldn’t hit the net. The Coyotes weren’t losing because of lack of effort; they were getting thoroughly outplayed by the Capitals.
Arizona’s best chance probably came midway through the third. Christian Fischer picked up the puck between the faceoff circles and fired at a wide-open net, only for Trevor van Riemsdyk to block the shot with his leg.
Eventually, the Coyotes would take one too many penalties. Liam O’Brien was in the box for holding, and John Carlson finally broke the scoring drought, giving the Capitals the 1-0 lead.
Arizona would get their own chance with a power play with just under seven minutes left, but they couldn’t get the equalizer.
Coach Tourigny pulled Vejmelka for the extra attacker with 1:15 left, but Alex Ovechkin killed any chance at a comeback when he picked up the puck in his own zone and fired it down the ice into the empty net.
If nothing else, the loss was a good display of what Karel Vejmelka could do. Tonight’s game was the closest the Coyotes have come to winning a game this season since their 2-1 shootout loss to the Buffalo Sabres, which also featured Vejmelka in net. The Coyotes offense is an issue, but if Vejmelka can keep this up, the team will at least have a chance.
- Ilya Samsonov - 16 saves on 16 shots
- John Carlson - 1 goal, 1 assist
- Karel Vejmelka - 30 saves on 31 shots
The Coyotes' road trip continues as they face off against the undefeated Carolina Hurricanes at 10:00 am.