Friday, October 29, 2021

A TWO Point Night: Washington Capitals -- Game 8: Capitals 2 - Coyotes 0

The Washington Capitals took on a struggling Arizona Coyotes team on Friday night at Capital One Arena.  The Coyotes played a gritty game, keeping the Caps off the board deep into the third period. But the Caps rode a John Carlson power play goal and an Alex Ovechkin empty net goal to a 2-0 victory.

First Period

Washington enjoyed the territorial advantage early, but they went a man short 5:25 into the period when Lars Eller was sent off for cross-checking.  The Arizona power play lasted 27 seconds until Lawson Crouse took a seat in the box for interference at 5:52. The Caps were unable to convert the abbreviated power play, and the teams continued scoreless.

Washington went a man up when Dmitrij Yaskin was ticketed for holding at 13:59.  The Caps went 0-for-2 on the power play, and the game remained scoreless.  It would remain scoreless to the final horn of the period.

-- Arizona did not get a shot on goal until the 16:54 mark of the period.

-- The Caps outshot the Coyotes, 14-4, and they out-attempted them, 22-8.

-- Lars Eller and Anthony Mantha each had a pair of shots on goal; John Carlson, Martin Fehervary, and Trevor van Riemsdyk each had three attempts.

-- Hendrix Lapierre had only two shifts and 1:50 in ice time, none in the last nine minutes.

Second Period

Washington went up a man early in the period when Andrew Ladd was sent off for slashing at 4:22 of the period.  They had some good looks for Ovechkin from the Office, but no red light was lit.  Arizona would get a power play 8:28 into the period when Alex Ovechkin was written up for cross-checking.  The Coyotes failed to convert on their man advantage chance, and it was still a scoreless game.

In the battle of power play chances, the Caps went up a man 12:46 into the period, Clayton Keller going off for high-sticking.  As with their previous three power plays, the Caps came up empty, and the game…alas…remained scoreless.

Another penalty was called 17:01 into the period, Johan Larsson going off for Arizona for hooking to give the Caps their fifth power play of the evening.  As with the previous four chances, the Caps came up empty.  And the teams went to the locker room scoreless after 40 minutes.

-- The Caps outshot Arizona, 9-6, in the period and out-attempted them, 26-12.

-- Alex Ovechkin had four shots and ten attempts through two periods.

-- Dmitry Orlov led the team with three credited hits through 40 minutes.

-- Nick Jensen and Connor McMichael were the only Caps without a shot attempt through two periods.

Third Period

The teams went back and forth with no reward for the first six minutes of the period, but the Caps were spared a Coyote goal when Trevor van Riemsdyk kicked out his left skate and blocked a shot that looked like a certain goal by Christian Fisher from between the hash marks.

Washington was awarded their sixth power play of the contest when former Cap Liam O’Brien was sent to the penalty box for holding at 11:21.  Washington finally converted at 12:02 of the period when John Carlson fired from long range through a maze of players past goalie Karel Vejmelka’s blocker.

Arizona went to their own power play when Garnet Hathaway was sent off for hooking at 12:42 of the period.  The Caps killed the penalty to preserve their 1-0 lead.  The Coyotes emptied their net in the last 90 seconds, and Alex Ovechkin took advantage, potting an empty net goal with 21 seconds left, and the Caps skated off with a 2-0 win.

Other stuff…

-- Alex Ovechkin’s empty net goal was the 41st of his career, breaking a tie with Marian Hossa for second place all time (Wayne Gretzky: 56).

-- Washington outshot the Coyotes, 32-16, and out-attempted them, 60-37.

-- This was Ovechkin’s 378th career multi-point game, breaking a tie with Luc Robitaille for 25th place all-time and tying Denis Savard for 24th place.

-- With the power play goal by John Carlson, the Coyotes extended their streak of games allowing a power play to start the season to eight games.

-- Ovechkin led the Caps with five shots on goal and 11 shot attempts.

-- Tom Wilson led the team in credited hits with four.

-- Thirteen different skaters were credited with blocked shots.  Trevor van Riemsdyk led the team with three.

-- Ovechkin had a goal, a penalty, and a faceoff win…what do you call that “hat trick?”

-- Ovechkin led the team in ice time with 24:43.

-- The shutout was Ilya Samsonov’s fourth of his career, tying him with Semyon Varlamov and Tomas Vokoun for 12th place on the Caps’ all time list.

In the end…

A couple of weeks from now, the difficulty the Caps had in besting Arizona will be forgotten.  Arizona seemed to be playing for a break or a turnover to convert into a goal, and such a style can frustrate a team, especially one with the skill set the Caps have.  But to their credit, they did not play outside the lines of their system trying to force things, and they manage to deal with an ice sheet that seemed to be more a 200-foot slushie than a hockey rink.  And that on top of missing key players like Nicklas Backstrom, T.J. Oshie, and Nic Dowd.  It is one of 82, but one of those games that could have gone sideways, especially when the teams went deep into the third period scoreless.  Credit to the Caps for their perseverance in this game.  Two points well earned.