The Arizona Coyotes will look for their first two-game winning streak since December when they face the scuffling Washington Capitals on Thursday night in Tempe, Ariz.
Arizona snapped a nine-game losing streak with a 4-3 shootout win against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday. Connor Ingram made 37 saves, Nick Bjugstad had a goal and an assist and Lawson Crouse had three assists.
“We’re going to play a full 60 minutes no matter what’s going on,” Coyotes forward Travis Boyd said after Arizona rallied from third-period, two-goal deficit. “It was a big win for everyone in here. I think we’ve been playing better than some of the results that we’ve been getting, so now maybe we can snowball this into a bit of a run.”
Boyd and Dylan Guenther also had goals, but scoring remains a problem for the Coyotes. Tuesday marked the first game over their last 10 where they’ve scored more than three goals, as Arizona was outscored 35-16 during its losing streak.
Clayton Keller tops Arizona with 38 points, including 15 goals, and Crouse leads the way with 16 goals.
Ingram has been a bright spot as of late, compiling a 2.38 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage over his last five games.
“I don’t know what else to say, he’s been really good,” Boyd said. “He kept us in it and made a lot of big saves for us.”
The Capitals might also be wishing the calendar still read December. After going 11-2-2 during the final month of 2022 — despite a lengthy injury list — Washington has been healthier but less successful in 2023, posting a 3-4-1 record this month.
Veteran forwards Tom Wilson and Nicklas Backstrom have returned from injuries and coach Peter Laviolette essentially has 14 forwards to play 12 spots. Veterans Anthony Mantha, Dylan Strome and Lars Eller have all taken turns as healthy scratches recently.
On Tuesday, the Capitals took an early lead but surrendered three second-period goals in a 4-2 loss to the visiting Minnesota Wild. Martin Fehervary had a goal and an assist, and Alex Ovechkin had two assists for Washington, which has lost three of four.
The Capitals outshot the Wild 36-22 despite playing the second game of a back-to-back set.
“There’s not much that I didn’t like about it,” Laviolette said afterward. “There’s things that I thought could be a little bit better, but I thought our guys pressed and played hard the entire night.”
The Capitals are in a bit of a scoring slump as well, averaging only 2.2 goals over their past five games. Ovechkin leads Washington with 30 goals but has only one in his past six games.
Washington’s power play is struggling as well. The Capitals have gone 0-for-13 over the past six games.
“I don’t know, it’s tough to say. It’s one of those confidence things,” forward Marcus Johansson said of the unit, “but I feel like we got two really good groups and we’ve got to keep working on it and keep getting better at it because it can win games for you. … So, got to dig in.”
–Field Level Media