Capitals Game Day
Capitals vs. Coyotes: Tale of the Tape, Lines, Players To Watch
The Washington Capitals will head to the 5,000-seat Mullett Arena and kick off their three-game road swing against the Arizona Coyotes. Lines, who to watch and everything else to know before puck drop.
The Washington Capitals are back in action on Thursday and will kick off one of the longer road swings they've had in weeks as they take on the Arizona Coyotes as part of a three-game trip out west.
Here's everything to know before puck drop.
Washington Capitals vs. Arizona Coyotes: Tale of the Tape
The Capitals (24-17-6) are showing flashes of the strong play that led to a stellar December and a trip back up the standings, but of late, things have not been going the way they've planned. Washington has gotten back to outshooting its opponents, but has still given up tough goals — especially through traffic — and has seen short lulls lead to poor results, even if the rest of the game has gone as planned. There are areas that need improvement. As the offense looks to find twine and consistency at 5-on-5, the Capitals have also gone 0-for-13 on the power play over the last six games. And while the penalty kill has remained in the top-10 (81.1), there have been some issues defensively that need cleaning up. Still, the team has played well enough to win over the last five periods, all things considered. Now, it's just a matter of finishing and results.
As for Arizona (14-25-5), this season is not what it has hoped for. The Coyotes have won just one of their last 10 games, and they don't have too much going for them right now. Their 25.1 shots for per game are the least in the league, and their 2.66 goals per game ranks the fifth-lowest while the power play is the eighth-worst in the league (19.3). While Karel Vejmelka has been strong (especially in his career against D.C.), Arizona doesn't give him much help, as they allow the fourth-most shots per game (34.4) and the seventh-most goals against per game (3.61), and the penalty kill also struggles as the sixth-worst in the league (73.2).
Washington Capitals vs. Arizona Coyotes: Lines
After numerous tweaks in this recent stretch with the team still getting used to having Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson back, Washington is keeping its same forward formation from Tuesday and appears to have landed on a set lineup — for now. Anthony Mantha will be a healthy scratch for the fourth time in six games, while Aliaksei Protas, who was recalled with Nic Dowd hurting and on the IR, will be the other forward scratch. The only other change is that Alex Alexeyev will draw in for Matt Irwin on the blue line.
Here are the combinations from Tuesday and what it looks like now with Alexeyev in:
Alex Ovechkin-Dylan Strome-Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Sonny Milano-Nicklas Backstrom-Tom Wilson
Conor Sheary-Lars Eller-T.J. Oshie
Marcus Johansson-Evgeny Kuznetsov-Garnet Hathaway
Erik Gustafsson-Trevor van Riemsdyk
Dmitry Orlov-Nick Jensen
Alex Alexeyev-Martin Fehervary
Expect Darcy Kuemper to start with Charlie Lindgren backing up.
Washington Capitals vs. Arizona Coyotes: Who To Watch
Keep an eye on Alex Ovechkin, who has points in three straight games and has been making some great plays to set his teammates up of late. Also look out for Dylan Strome, who broke a lengthy goal drought back on Tuesday on a great deflection tally. Garnet Hathaway also has six points in his last 10 games and has looked solid of late, and the Milano-Backstrom-Wilson trio has also been generating quite a few chances. T.J. Oshie is another name to watch, as he has four goals in his last seven games.
On the Arizona side, look out for Clayton Keller, who leads the team with 38 points in 44 games. Jakob Chychrun is on a three-game point streak, and Lawson Crouse is coming off a three-assist performance on Tuesday and has points in three of his last four games. Nick Bjustad is also coming off a multi-point game. In addition, Shayne Gostisbehere, Dylan Guenther, Nick Schmaltz and Nick Ritchie are also dangerous. Former Capitals Travis Boyd will also be in the lineup.
How To Tune In
Local fans can catch the action live on NBC Sports Washington Plus and tune in at WJFK 106.7 The Fan and Caps Radio 24/7. Coyotes fans can watch on Bally Sports Arizona and listen on KTAR-FM 92.3.
Puck drop is at 9 p.m. ET at the 5,000-seat Mullett Arena.