The Arizona Coyotes playoff hopes are on the line during their five-game road trip, but the road trip got off to a rough start with a 3-2 loss against the Washington Capitals on Monday night.
Facing Alex Ovechkin and the league’s best team in the Washington Capitals (44-10-4, 92 points) is no easy task for anyone, but the Arizona Coyotes gave the Capitals a run for their money on Monday night.
After a scoreless first period and an exchange of one goal for each side in the second period, the table was set for an exciting third period of action.
Ovechkin broke the tie between the two clubs with his league-leading 39th goal of the season, followed by Mike Richards‘ first goal of the season to put the Capitals up 3-1. Arizona’s Connor Murphy cut the deficit in half to 3-2 halfway into the third period, but the Coyotes were unable to muster up the energy to even the score.
Capitals goalie Braden Holtby made save after save, but Coyotes goalie Louis Domingue played a decent game himself as he sent aside 31 shots. The goaltending was top-notch for the majority of the contest.
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The Coyotes had six power play opportunities in the game, but only managed to have two shots on goal in those six chances. It was a rare off night for the Coyotes power play unit, which ranks 12th in the NHL at 19.4 percent.
To be fair, the Capitals penalty kill unit does rank 4th in the NHL at 84.2 percent, but the power play unit must cash in from time-to-time on this road trip if the Coyotes want to continue their playoff aspirations.
The Coyotes entered Monday night five points behind the Nashville Predators for the second Wild Card spot in the Western Conference, but Arizona is now seven points back after dropping a 3-2 contest against the Capitals paired with a Nashville victory. Arizona remains just six points behind the Colorado Avalanche for one of the Wild Card spots however and the Coyotes still have three games in hand too.
The Coyotes will get their chance at revenge against the Washington Capitals when the Capitals make their lone visit to the desert on April 2.
For the time being however, the Coyotes will head down the Atlantic seaboard to take on the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night. Puck-drop will take place at 5:30 p.m. MST and Coyotes fans will be able to tune into the game on Fox Sports Arizona.