Coyotes ‘rise to the challenge’, beat Capitals and Ovechkin

Feb 16, 2020, 12:13 AM
Antti Raanta #32, Ilya Lyubushkin #46, Brad Richardson #15 of the Arizona Coyotes and Alex Ovechkin...
Antti Raanta #32, Ilya Lyubushkin #46, Brad Richardson #15 of the Arizona Coyotes and Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals watch the puck during the third period at Gila River Arena on February 15, 2020 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes won 3-1. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images )
(Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images )

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals entered a Saturday night game at the Arizona Coyotes with 698 career goals.

For a player who had 14 goals in a seven-game stretch that ended this month, it seemed entirely plausible that he could score two against the Coyotes to become the eighth player in NHL history to reach 700. Instead, he was held without a point as the Coyotes won, 3-1.

The win was far more important for the Coyotes than avoiding having history play out in their home building. It was Arizona’s third win in 12 games, but it also meant the Coyotes earned five of the previous eight possible points.

“We’ve been playing pretty good,” head coach Rick Tocchet said. “I think everybody’s hammering on us a little too much. I think we’ve been playing pretty good. We’ve had our moments. Obviously, the Ottawa [loss on Thursday] is a sour taste. Guys had that long flight yesterday, and I’m really proud of the guys.”

The Coyotes were out-shot 37-30, but won 52% of faceoffs and scored on the power play, while holding the Capitals to 0-for-3 on their power play.

It came as the Coyotes have played seven games in the last 12 days, four of those being on an East Coast road trip that took them through eastern Canada and ended just this past Thursday. After a day off on Friday to travel, the Coyotes played first-place Washington at 8 p.m. Saturday.

“We had a morning skate, a couple guys came up to me and said they didn’t have any legs, they felt it,” Tocchet said. “But listen, you’ve got to gut it out. We have a day off tomorrow, we have to play at 2 o’clock on Monday. That’s just the way it is.

“That’s a tough spot. That’s not an easy flight [from Ottawa] yesterday for the guys. They rose to the challenge.”

The Coyotes could really benefit from Saturday’s win becoming the start of a trend. Even after earning two points against Washington, the Coyotes find themselves in fifth place in the Pacific Division (but only three points back of first place), in the Western Conference’s second Wild Card spot.

It also would mean a lot if Antti Raanta continued to have games like he did on Saturday. He bested Washington’s Braden Holtby, who was also superb, as Raanta made 36 saves on 37 shots faced. Holtby made 27 saves.

“It’s also that you have to be like this every night,” Raanta said. “You can’t play one good game, a couple bad ones, two good games and then a bad one. So that’s kind of the thing. Consistent level has to be higher.”

After a scoreless first period, Christian Dvorak scored on a feed from Conor Garland at 7:06 in the second period. Washington answered back later in the period with a goal from Carl Hagelin, making it 1-1.

But more than five minutes into the third period, Phil Kessel scored by deflecting in a shot taken by Jakob Chychrun on the power play. Lawson Crouse’s empty-net goal made it 3-1 late, and the Coyotes secured the win. Arizona is 2-0 against Washington this season.

Penguin Air

Arizona Coyotes

(Screenshot/Arizona Coyotes)...
Arizona Sports

Coyotes sign D Maveric Lamoureux to 3-year, entry-level contract

The Coyotes announced the signing of first-round draft pick Maveric Lamoureux to a three-year entry-level contract, according to the team.
3 days ago
(Screenshot/Bally Sports)...
Arizona Sports

Bally Sports+ streaming service announces launch date in September

Bally Sports announced the launch of a new streaming service for the Suns, Coyotes and regional college sports coming Sept. 26.
3 days ago
FILE - United States' Logan Cooley (18) checks Finland's Eemil Viro (6) during the second period of...
Sam Graveline

Coyotes prospect Logan Cooley impresses for Team USA at World Juniors

Arizona Coyotes prospect Logan Cooley flashed some skill for Team USA against Austria in the World Juniors Saturday.
7 days ago
Lawson Crouse #67 of the Arizona Coyotes skates against the New York Islanders  at the UBS Arena on...
Kellan Olson

Lawson Crouse believes in Arizona Coyotes’ long-term vision, core

Arizona Coyotes forward Lawson Crouse spoke on his long-term commitment to the organization and what he sees for it in the future.
12 days ago
Lawson Crouse #67 of the Arizona Coyotes skates with the puck during the NHL game at Gila River Are...
Arizona Sports

Lawson Crouse, Arizona Coyotes agree to 5-year extension

Agreeing to an extension before an arbitration on Monday, Coyotes forward Lawson Crouse will make $4.3 million on average each year.
12 days ago
Logan Cooley, #3 pick by the Arizona Coyotes, poses for a portrait during the 2022 Upper Deck NHL D...
Arizona Sports

Coyotes’ Logan Cooley to play for U.S. at World Junior Championship

Coyotes prospect Logan Cooley -- the 2022 No. 3 pick -- will represent the United States at the upcoming IIHF World Junior Championship.
13 days ago
Coyotes ‘rise to the challenge’, beat Capitals and Ovechkin