Post-game analysis of the Capitals’ 3-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes Monday night at Verizon Center:
How it happened: Alex Ovechkin and Mike Richards netted third-period goals and Braden Holtby withstood a late barrage as the Capitals hung on to beat a very feisty Coyotes team. Evgeny Kuznetsov also scored a goal and assisted on Ovechkin’s league-leading 39th goal of the season.
What it means: The Caps have now won nine of their last 10 and are 32-5-3 since Nov. 21. They’ve also gone 17-1-1 in their last 19 at Verizon Center.
Richards embraced: It took him 15 games but Richards finally scored his first goal for the Capitals and was given a long and loud standing ovation from the sellout crowd. Tom Wilson made it all happen when he dug the puck out from under Louis Domingue, allowing Richards to snap a shot through legs and sticks. It was his first NHL goal since Jan. 3, 2015 when the Kings played the Predators.
Ovi chasing Rocket: Ovechkin has 18 goals in his last 18 games and his 39 goals lead the NHL. He is looking to become the first player since Wayne Gretzky to win four straight goal-scoring titles.
Harry Potter: Evgeny Kuznetsov’s two-point night was his 18th multi-point game of the season. He has eight points in his last five games.
Back-handed: Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom took a slash to the hands from Martin Hanzal early in the second period and sat out the ensuing power play but returned to take normal shifts the rest of the game. Backstrom lost nine of 12 faceoffs in the first two periods.
Rumor mill: With defensemen Roman Polak off the market (traded from the Maple Leafs to the San Jose Sharks) would the Caps be interested in Winnipeg Jets captain and left wing Andrew Ladd, who won the Stanley Cup with Justin Williams in Carolina in 2006 and with the Blackhawks in 2010? Sources in Winnipeg say the Jets are willing to trade Ladd. The Caps, Blackhawks, Ducks, Panthers and Penguins are believed to have shown interest.
Scouts galore: In addition to Team Sweden scout Rikard Gronberg, seven NHL teams had representatives ion attendance: the Boston Bruins (Dennis Bonvie), Chicago Blackhawks (Pierre Gauthier), Dallas Stars (Dan O’Brien), Montreal Canadiens (Doug Gibson), Ottawa Senators (Jim Clark), San Jose Sharks (Jason Rowe) and Philadelphia Flyers (Al Hill and Ross Fitzpatrick).
Look ahead: The Caps are scheduled to practice at Kettler Tuesday at 11:30. They continue their four-game homestand Wednesday night against the Montreal Canadiens, followed by a visit by the Minnesota Wild on Friday.