Perhaps this is a silly prejudice, but I feel like hockey teams from warm places have something to prove. I know, I know, hockey teams don’t recruit from their localities and, like every other professional athlete, hockey players go to where the money is, but it doesn’t change the fact that I expect less from a hockey team from Arizona. If the Phoenix Coyotes did have anything to prove, they’re certainly doing it this year. With an impressive record, they came to DC, last night, as a very real threat to the Capitals five game winning streak.
The Capitals, with their aforementioned win streak and Ovechkin’s impressive scoring record, were definitely the team to beat and the Coyotes were determined to cut them down to size. The game opened with Phoenix playing aggressively and keeping the puck near the Capitals goal for most of the 1st period. The Caps looked a bit tentative, early on, but managed to take advantage of their first power play, with Brooks Laich to scoring in the opening minutes. The Coyotes answered in the 13th minute of the period, tying game.
The Caps seemed to hit their stride during the second period, out shooting the Coyotes by over 2-1. Their play shifted considerably towards the offensive and they kept the pressure on the Coyotes for the entirety of the period. The Caps put up two points in quick succession in the later half of the 2nd, with Eric Fehr scoring on a power play at 13:22 and Alexander Semin putting one in the net at 17:06.
The Caps were exactly where they wanted to be going into the third, with a two point advantage and the Coyotes reeling. Phoenix’s Korpikoski raised pulses slightly by scoring during the 7th minute of the period, but the Caps managed to handle Coyotes without much trouble. Washington’s goalie, Michal Neuvirth, had a few impressive saves, making several key deflections towards the end of the period. The final goal came from Alexander Ovechkin making an easy shot on an open net in the closing seconds of the period. This extended his scoring streak to 9 games.
The Caps came out with their 2-4 win due to a number of factors, but particularly their power play advantage. They scored two goals while a man up, compared to the Coyotes one. Phoenix also committed two more penalties than Washington, allowing for these additional points. The Capitals advance their streak to 6 games and look strong going up against the Islanders on Tuesday.