The Capitals haven’t strung together two wins since returning from the All Star Break. And even more surprising is Braden Holtby hasn’t put two wins together since he won four in a row from November 27th to December 6th. So it’s been over two months since Holtby has won two in a row... that’s weird. Needless to say this was a big game for both Holtby and the team in order to find consistency going down the stretch.
And though the Arizona Coyotes have been mediocre for the last couple months they still have Capitals number. In their history, the Coyotes are 33-32-12 are against Washington, which isn’t crazy good but it actually is when you consider the Coyotes have been very bad just about their whole history since their existence.
Unfortunately, the Coyotes continued that trend by beating the Capitals 1-3. The Capitals are now 4-8-1 in Arizona since 2000 and 2-7 since 2009. For some reason the Capitals just can’t win in Arizona. Maybe it’s the crappy ice?
Plus: Holtby was very strong for his second straight game. Even though he didn’t get the win it’s good to see him string together a couple great games. The Capitals will need that going down the stretch and into the playoffs.
Minus: Losing to Arizona. It wasn’t a bad game but wasn’t a great game. Losing to such mediocre teams is the Capitals calling card. Still doesn’t make it any less annoying.
Some notes on the game:
- Antti Raanta came up huge on the Capitals first power play early in the game after a delay of game penalty. He made big saves on Alex Ovechkin and TJ Oshie. Just minutes after that power play he made a stellar save on Garnett Hathaway on a nice play with Brendan Leipsic.
- But Braden Holtby wasn’t to be out done. The Capitals still suffer from puck turnovers and Holtby was quick to shut down any chances against in the first period. Overall it was a really choppy period with lots of stoppages.
- The Coyotes took another penalty early in the second period but got through it unscathed even though Ovechkin ripped a couple shots, one off the outside of the post. But Capitals took another penalty right after and were able to kill it off.
- Halfway through the second period, off another turnover, Christian Dvorak was able to get behind the defense and stuff a puck five hole on Holtby to take the lead 0-1.
- It was looking to be quite a terrible period for the Capitals, but late in the period after an odd play where the a Coyotes player lost his stick, Richard Panik brought the puck to the net, fumbled it, Travis Boyd got a stick on it before Carl Hagelin tapped it in to tie the game. It was similar to the most recent Columbus Blue Jacket’s game where Columbus was up 0-1 in a boring game before Hageling got a blue paint goal, which led to a Capitals win.
- Michal Kempny took a penalty in the first five minutes of the third and the Capitals were unable to kill it resulting in a 1-2 lead for Arizona. The upsetting thing is the goal came right after the Capitals could have cleared it but didn’t.
- The Capitals got another power play half way through the third but were unable to convert, but again, looked really strong. Raanta was just really strong like he was all game, making some crazy athletic saves.
- And that’s all she wrote after the Coyotes slam dunked into the empty net. There aren’t many notes because it was quite a snooze fest, which is Arizona’s calling card. Maybe it’s why the Capitals don’t do well against them.
- Ovechkin had 17 (!!!) shot attempts. He really wants those 700 goals.
So the road trip goes to 1-1, and the Caps look to swing the balance in a building that has some fond memories in it for them: T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.