News, notes and quotes as the Capitals return home from a 1-1-1 road trip to Philadelphia, Colorado and Arizona and enjoy a Sunday off before the final four games of the regular season:
No run support for Grubi: For the second straight time, Caps backup goaltender Philipp Grubauer received zero offense in a 3-0 shutout loss. Last weekend Grubauer fell 4-0 to the St. Louis Blues on the back end of a back-to-back set. Against the Coyotes, the Capitals hit two posts (one each by Alex Ovechkin and Dmitry Orlov) and saw a pair of Coyotes shots deflected past Grubauer.
“Back to back, it’s always tough the second game,” said Grubauer, who fell to 8-8-1 with the loss. “We had a hard game in Colorado and knew it was the last home game for those guys. Even going into the last period we knew they were coming hard. We had chances. It’s not like we played bad, we played great and if we keep playing the right way it’s going to be good.”
Grubauer kept the Coyotes off the board through the first two periods, making an incredible split save on Tobias Rieder with 2:38 remaining in the first period. But the Coyotes recorded the first six shots of the third period and got on the board when Shane Doan deflected a shot by Max Domi. When defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson cranked a slapshot off the stick of T.J. Oshie and past Grubauer just 27 seconds later, the Coyotes had all the momentum in their favor.
“It probably happens once every 30 games,” Grubauer said of the double deflection, which also went off the skate of a Coyote player. “It’s the first time (this season) it’s happened to me. You get those once in a while.”
Caps defenseman Karl Alzner said Ekman-Larsson’s goal changed the game.
“They played a solid game and they didn't stop," Alzner said "They finally got one to break it open on a good tip and the second one going in the way it did, it kills your mojo a little.
"After that, you hope for a team to kind of sit back, that's kind of where we usually take advantage. But they didn't sit back. We didn't have an answer for it. We didn't play great but they played a really solid game."
What the Coyotes were saying: Arizona coach Dace Tippett: “We caught a team on the back-to-back and capitalized on a chance or two and got the win.”
Max Domi: “That’s the best team in the league over there and we found a way to stay in it and (goaltender Mike Smith) was unbelievable."
Unlucky: The Caps have it seven posts in the past two games and believe luck will turn in their favor when the playoff begin next week.
"We're getting chances,” center Jay Beagle said. “It's not a matter of not getting any shots. We had Grade-A chances. We're hitting posts all over the place. We just have to keep getting those chances and eventually they will start going in."
No Backy: Center Nicklas Backstrom sat out his second straight game with an upoper body injury but Barry Trotz said he expects him back in the lineup this week when the Caps face the Islanders and Penguins at home on Tuesday and Thursday nights.
Slow starts: Trotz was not happy with the way the Caps started any of their three periods on Saturday.
“We were sleeping in the first five minute of the game,” he said. “Second period, same thing.”
Said Andre Burakovsky: “We started a little slow in every single period. It’s something we have to get rid of.”