When the Washington Capitals arrived in Glendale on Saturday, they had hockey’s best power play in tow. And they brought it to the ice and put it on display before 16,106 at Jobing.com Arena, almost handing the Phoenix Coyotes their first home regulation loss of the season.
But Coyotes captain Shane Doan had a power play clinic of his own to offer the Glendale crowd Saturday, scoring two such goals in the contest.
The center put his team on the board first, notching a first period goal which was assisted by Martin Hanzal and Keith Yandle. Doan’s second power play goal, meanwhile, came with less than two minutes left in regulation and his team trailing Washington 3-2 following a three-goal second period from Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals.
The score was 3-3 as the seconds ticked away toward overtime, but then Zbynek Michaelek froze the puck with a second remaining in regulation.
Power play, Capitals to begin overtime.
But the league-leading special team couldn’t get their third upper-handed goal of the night against the league’s worst power play killers, in the Coyotes, despite several shots on goal. Goalie Mike Smith, more than the Coyotes defense, was too good down the stretch.
And the Coyotes created opportunities of their own after squeaking through the power play kill. The final three minutes saw the puck primarily in the Capitals’ zone, but to no adieu.
Onto the shootout — the Coyotes’ fourth in their previous five games.
Antoine Vermette scores through Capitals’ goalie Michal Neuvirth’s legs. Make.
Mikhail Grabovski skates toward Smith, backs up, fades to the left of the goal and loses control of the puck never getting a shot off. Miss.
Mikkel Boedker flies toward Neuvrith, speeds up down his left side and backhands in a goal to the top shelf, behind the netminder. Make.
Alex Ovechkin skates toward Smith, slows, fades to his right and sloppily handles the puck, before firing a weak backhand shot parallel across the front of the goal. Miss.
Franchise marketing departments are really good at coming up with oxymoronic pep rally slogans. #GibbyBall, for example, got the Arizona Diamondbacks 81 wins and 81 losses in 2012 before it was canned.
But ‘Hungrier Than Ever’ seems to work. It seems to be accurate.
The Coyotes have won four of their last five games via shootout. They are 8-0-1 at home and on Saturday, they fought to force overtime, then force a shootout and then force a victory.
And captain Shane Doan is the poster boy for the mantra, taking advantage of important power play opportunities versus the Capitals, scoring his sixth and seventh goals of the season during the contest.
The combination of the Capitals’ high-octane, league-leading power play and the Coyotes’ lackluster, league-worst power play kill wasn’t a good one. And it was exposed during the second period when the Captials scored two power play goals in just over three minutes to take a 2-1 lead.
-Shane Doan has scored in five of his last six games
-Doan’s two power play goals Saturday night counted for the first time the Coyotes’ captain has notched two upperhanded goals since 2011, when he did it against the San Jose Sharks.
-The Coyotes have won four of their last five games via shootout.
The Coyotes head to St. Louis to face the Blues Tuesday, Nov. 12. The Blues (11-2-2) rank third in the NHL in scoring and power play, also clocking in at sixth-best in goals against. Puck drops at 6:00 p.m. MDT and can be heard on 860 AM.