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Coyotes jump out to early lead, stun Caps in Arizona

Coyotes jump out to early lead, stun Caps in Arizona

Final score: Washington Capitals 3, Arizona Coyotes 6

How it happened: Arizona jumped all over the Caps from the opening whistle, taking a 3-0 lead in the opening period. Washington tried to mount a comeback with goals from Nicklas Backstrom and Daniel Winnik to pull within one, but the Coyotes scored two of their own to keep the deficit at three at the end of the period. Both teams traded a goal in the third as the Caps could never recover from the rough start.

What it means: The loss snaps a six-game win streak and eight-game point streak. The good news for the Caps is that Columbus lost in regulation as well which keeps Washington lead at four points in the Metropolitan. Pittsburgh earned a shootout win to pull within five of the Caps.

Goals

Coyotes goal: Christian Dvorak at 7:26 in the 1st period. Dvorak blocked a pass by Andre Burakovsky at the point and broke into the offensive zone. He lost control of the puck along the boards forcing him to double back. He cut to the center and deked Burakovsky before ripping a shot into the goal. Caps 0, Coyotes 1

Coyotes goal: Josh Jooris from Alex Goligoski at 9:05 in the 1st period. Kevin Shattenkirk tried to clear the puck from behind the net, but Goligoski got it off the wall and stepped up to take the shot. Jooris whacked in the rebound through Holtby’s five-hole. Caps 0, Coyotes 1

Coyotes goal: Alexander Burmistrov from Shane Doan and Lawson Crouse at 13:12 in the 1st period. Doan and Crouse won the puck battle behind the Caps’ net and Doan backhanded a pass into the slot where Burmistrov buried it into the net. Caps 0, Coyotes 3

Caps goal: Nicklas Backstrom (power play) from Marcus Johansson and T.J. Oshie at 1:59 in the 2nd period. Shattenkirk threw the puck at the net from the blue line causing a scrum in front of net. Oshie eventually tipped the puck to an open Backstrom who shot in the goal. Caps 1, Coyotes 3

Caps goal: Daniel Winnik from Dmitry Orlov and Tom Wilson at 11:04 in the 2nd period. The Caps broke into the offensive zone on the rush and Orlov found Wilson with the cross-ice pass. Domingue made the save on Wilson’s shot, but the rebound bounced out to Winnik who backhanded it in past Domingue who had lost track of the puck. Caps 2, Coyotes 3

Coyotes goal: Christian Dvorak (power play) at 13:28 in the 2nd period. Jay Beagle won the puck in the offensive zone along the boards and tried to pass back to Matt Niskanen. The pass was off target. It came off of Niskanen's stick into the offensive zone and launched Dvorak. He skated in and rifled the wrister to the top corner. Caps 2, Coyotes 4

Coyotes goal: Alexander Burmistrov (power play) from Anthony DeAngelo and Max Domi at 17:52 in the 2nd period. Domi skated into the defensive zone and battled his way to the center allowing Burmistrov to sneak in behind the defense. Domi threaded the Caps' defense with the pass. Burmistrov backhanded in to beat Holtby. Caps 2, Coyotes 5

Coyotes goal: Peter Holland at 10:17 in the 3rd period. Holland stole the puck from Justin Williams in the neutral zone. he fought off the challenge from Wilson and fired a shot that looked like it climbed up Alzner's stick to beat Holtby. L Caps 2, Coyotes 6 

Caps goal: Justin Williams from Marcus Johansson and Dmitry Orlov at 10:37 in the 3rd period. Orlov hit a slap shot from the blue line and Williams deflected it in. Caps 3, Coyotes 6

3 stars

1. Christian Dvorak: Not only did Dvorak score twice, both of his goals were unassisted as they came off of great individual plays.

2. Alexander Burmistrov: Both of Burmistrov's goals came because of his positioning. On his first period goal, he snuck into the slot to score off the pass from Doan. In the second period, while the Caps were all watching Domi, Burmistrov got in behind the defense and was by himself when Domi hit him with the pass.

3. Daniel Winnik: Winnik was one Washington's best player on Saturday, scoring a goal in the second period to pull the Caps within one. The goal was his 12th of the season, setting a new career-high. He also fired six shots on goal on net.

Look ahead: The Caps continue their road trip with one of their biggest games of the season on Sunday against the Columbus Blue Jackets. They then wrap-up the trip in Toronto on Tuesday and return to Washington for the quick turnaround with the New York Rangers on Wednesday.

Tell us what you think: One look at the standings will show you that Arizona hasn't been all that great this season. So what happened? Is this loss a cause for concern going forward or a blip on the radar?

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Capitals place Taylor Chorney on waivers, which could signal something, or nothing

Capitals place Taylor Chorney on waivers, which could signal something, or nothing

When the Capitals acquired defenseman Michal Kempny on Monday, that put the team at the maximum of 23 players on the roster including eight defenseman.

Another move seemed likely and the Caps made it on Tuesday by placing veteran blueliner Taylor Chorney on waivers.

Teams now will have 24 hours to potentially claim Chorney. Should he clear at 12 p.m. on Wednesday, it is expected that he will be sent to the Hershey Bears of the AHL. Whether he is claimed or sent to Hershey, his entire $800,000 cap hit will no longer count against the Capitals' salary.

One important thing to note, however, is that placing Chorney on waivers was not required in order for Washington to remain under the salary cap.

Having eight defensemen would mean scratching two every game — assuming the team does not dress seven and after that failed experiment in last year's playoffs, why would they — which means it would be a struggle to make sure everyone gets consistent playing time in the final weeks of the season.

Perhaps placing Chorney on waivers is the team trying to get him more playing time to keep him sharp in case the team suffers injuries on the blue line and he is called upon in the playoffs.

Or perhaps it could mean something else.

RELATED: RANKING THE CAPITALS' TOP PROSPECTS

Chorney played on Feb. 15, but that was during the mentor's trip. Barry Trotz's policy for those trips is to get everyone in at least one of those two games. Before that, Chorney had not played since Jan. 2. It certainly seems like the team was comfortable with him being the designated No. 7 and was not all that concerned about getting him regular playing time before now.

When asked if the Kempny trade would mean any roster moves, Trotz said Monday that he was not sure and hinted that perhaps more moves could be coming from general manager Brian MacLellan. Moving Chorney's salary off the books does not clear much cap room, but it does clear some.

Perhaps MacLellan has another move up his sleeve before Monday's trade deadline.

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Michal Kempny excited to move from last place Chicago to first place Caps

Michal Kempny excited to move from last place Chicago to first place Caps

On Sunday, Michal Kempny was a defenseman struggling for a spot in the lineup for a team poised to miss the playoffs for the first time since 2008. On Monday, he became potentially an important piece on the roster of the first place Capitals.

The last few days have been quite the whirlwind for Kempny who tallied an assist for Chicago on Saturday in a 7-1 blowout against what is now his current team. While the Blackhawks may have gotten the better of Washington that night, Kempny is excited about the postseason opportunity that now lies in front of him.

"Nobody knows what's happening in Chicago, but I'm really happy and I'm really glad that I can be here," Kempny told reporters on Tuesday after his first skate with the team. "There is option of play a playoff and I'm very happy for it."

RELATED: WHERE MICHAL KEMKPNY FITS IN THE CAPS' LINEUP

The 27-year-old Czech defenseman played only 31 games for the Blackhawks this season, but considering Washington's need to shore up its defense before the trade deadline and the team's willingness to give up a third-round pick to acquire him, it is likely he will have a much more significant role with the Caps.

"I thought that I [was] going to get more space on the ice and more ice time, but I didn't play more than half games," Kempny said of his decision to originally sign with Chicago. "But now I'm here and I'm really glad that I'm here. Washington is amazing city and great organization and I hope I will get a chance to access myself on the ice more than in Chicago."

Kempny will not play in Tuesday's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, but did say he expects to play Thursday when the team visits the Florida Panthers.

When he does get into the lineup, it is unclear just how big a role he will play initially or how the team foresees utilizing him going forward. He is a left-shot defenseman and did tell reporters he prefers to play on that side. It seems unlikely the team would acquire him just to put him on his offside.

As of now, however, everything regarding his role in Washington is up in the air.

"I need everything settle down a little bit," he said. "New teammates, new people around here."

MORE CAPITALS: MEET MICHAL KEMPNY