The Capitals (37-15-5) are back in the win column after beating the Colorado Avalanche in a come-from-behind win on Thursday. Can they keep up that momentum on Saturday against the Arizona Coyotes (28-24-8)?
Tune in to NBC Sports Washington for the game broadcast plus pre and postgame coverage. Pregame coverage begins at 9 p.m. with Caps FaceOff Live followed by Caps Pregame Live bringing you up to the 10 p.m. game broadcast. Stick with NBC Sports Washington after the game for postgame coverage with Caps Postgame Live.
Here is what you need to know for Saturday's game.
698 and counting
Alex Ovechkin remains stuck on 698 career goals. He last scored on Feb. 4 against the Los Angeles Kings in the miraculous third period hat trick. That marks three straight games without a goal for the Great 8. There have been five other times this season in which Ovechkin has gone three games without a goal and each time he did not allow that streak to reach four games.
Evgeny Kuznetsov did not play in Thursday's game due to an upper-body injury, but he did skate after the morning skate. Because the team did not practice on Friday, we won't know Kuznetsov's status until Saturday's morning skate, scheduled for 1:30 p.m. ET.
Here are the lines from Thursday's game with Kuznetsov out:
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana - Lars Eller - T.J. Oshie
Carl Hagelin - Travis Boyd - Richard Panik
Brendan Leipsic - Nic Dowd - Garnet Hathaway
Michal Kempny - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Nick Jensen
Jonas Siegenthaler - Radko Gudas
We will also have to wait to see who will be in net. Braden Holtby seems most likely after he turned aside 32 out of 34 shots he faced in Thursday's win.
When last we met
The Coyotes came to Washington on Nov. 11 and ended the Caps' six-game win streak with a 4-3 shootout victory. It looked like Washington's 11-game point streak was also in jeopardy as Arizona jumped out to a 3-0 lead thanks to two goals in the first minute of the second period. Washington battled back with two goals from Kuznetsov and Oshie scored the game-tying goal with just 76 seconds remaining in regulation.
In overtime, it looked like Oshie had scored the game-winning goal, but it was called back on an offside review.
The Caps snapped a two-game losing streak on Thursday and while that may not sound too bad, it was the way they lost those two games, by a combined score of 12-5, which made it so brutal. Since returning from the all-star break, Washington is 4-4-0.
But if you want to talk about slumps, that's nothing compared to the one Arizona is slogging through. The Coyotes come into Saturday's game with two straight losses, including a regulation loss to the lowly Ottawa Senators. Arizona has only won three out of its last 15 games going from western contender to the second wildcard spot. The Taylor Hall trade has not propelled them to the top of the West as they may have hoped.
Strength vs. strength
Washington ranks second in the NHL in offense with 3.54 goals per game. Defense is the strength of the Coyotes who rank fifth with 2.68 goals allowed per game. Ovechkin is going to put that defense to the test looking for goals No. 699 and 700.
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