Coyotes cap off historic five-game stretch with win over Capitals

Dec 4, 2023, 9:53 PM

Clayton Keller, Arizona Coyotes...

Arizona Coyotes right wing Clayton Keller (9) stops the puck above the ice as Coyotes center Logan Cooley, right, looks on during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Washington Capitals, Monday, Dec. 4, 2023, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

TEMPE (AP) — Nick Schmaltz scored two goals, Connor Ingram stopped 26 shots and the Arizona Coyotes became the first team in NHL history to beat the previous five franchises to win the Stanley Cup in consecutive games with a 6-0 rout of the Washington Capitals on Monday night.

Since an ugly loss to St. Louis on Nov. 22, Arizona reeled off wins over reigning Stanley Cup champion Vegas, Tampa Bay, Colorado and a rematch with the Blues.

The Coyotes finished off their run with a dominating performance against the 2018 champions, kicked off by the third 5-0 first period in franchise history — first since 1986.

No team had ever won consecutive games against the last five teams to win the Stanley Cup — with repeat winners not counted twice — according to Sportradar.

Ingram was sharp hours after becoming the first Coyotes goalie to be named the NHL’s first star of the week since Mike Smith in 2012.

Logan Cooley, Michael Carcone and Schmaltz scored in the first period to chase former Coyotes goalie Darcy Kuemper. Schmaltz then scored against Charlie Lindgren and Jason Zucker capped Arizona’s first-period flurry with a little over a minute left.

Carcone scored for the fourth straight game, Nick Bjugstad had a shorthanded goal in the second period and Clayton Keller had three assists to cap Arizona’s first five-game winning streak since 2018-19.

The Capitals made center Evgeny Kuznetsov a healthy scratch for what would have been his 700th career game following a lackluster performance Saturday night at Vegas. Coach Spencer Carbery called it a “mental reset” for Kuznetsov, Washington’s leading scorer on its 2018 Stanley Cup run and $7.8 million a year player who’s off to another disappointing start following trade rumors this past offseason.

The rest of Washington’s roster might need a mental break after a second straight dismal game.

Kuemper allowed three goals on five shots before being pulled. The Caps gave up a shorthanded goal, went 0 for 4 on the power play and allowed two power-play goals.

Washington has allowed 10 combined goals the past two games and lost four of six.

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