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Washington
Capitals
50-24-8
Phoenix
Coyotes
36-39-7

32 SOG
34 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
WSH
PHX
game preview

Capitals-Coyotes Preview

Thursday, 10.23.2008 / 7:00 PM

Associated Press

More power-play opportunities may be what the Phoenix Coyotes need to break out on offense. The man advantage, though, hasn't helped the Washington Capitals find the back of the net.

After losing in regulation for the first time since their season opener, the Capitals look to end their power-play woes when they face the struggling Coyotes on Thursday night.

Phoenix (2-3-0) is averaging just 2.40 goals per game, and getting only two power-play chances in its last two contests hasn't helped. The Coyotes didn't take advantage of either of those opportunities, both coming in a 4-1 loss to Montreal on Saturday night.

Washington (3-2-1), meanwhile, couldn't score on a nine-minute power play in a 2-1 loss to Calgary on Tuesday in its first defeat since opening the season with a 7-4 loss to Atlanta on Oct. 10. The Capitals went 0-for-5 on the power play versus the Flames, and are 1-for-17 (5.9 percent) in their last three games after going 4-for-15 (26.7 percent) in their first three contests.

"It was the first time I've ever had a nine-minute power-play and we had only one chance in those nine minutes and it can't be like that," Washington winger Alexander Ovechkin said.

Last season's Hart Trophy winner has not scored a goal in his last four games. He has two on the season, both in a victory over Chicago on Oct. 11.

Ovechkin is looking forward to playing the Coyotes, particularly because they are coached by Wayne Gretzky.

"It's always fun to show the greatest player in history you can play hockey," Ovechkin told the Coyotes official Web site. "I enjoy playing against every team especially when they have great players (and) especially when ... Wayne Gretzky is coaching."

Capitals forward Alexander Semin had a five-game point streak end Tuesday. He had six goals and four assists during the run.

Washington's only goal, though, was certainly noteworthy, with Sergei Fedorov tying Alexander Mogilny for most career NHL goals by a Russian-born player with 473.

One goal is all Phoenix has been able to muster in two of its last three games, all losses. The Coyotes spent much of their practice Wednesday working on the power play.

"We need to get more pucks and more bodies to the net and simplify things," Phoenix captain Shane Doan told the team's official Web site. "And as you start to score it seems to get easier so we've just got to hang in there and stay with it and trust the fact that we'll have success if we stick to the system."

Phoenix did not have a chance with the man advantage in a 6-3 loss at Ottawa on Friday.

"We played two of the best teams in the Eastern Conference back to back, and I know we're going to have some bumps along the way, but we've got to learn from it and get better from it," Gretzky said.

Doan scored his team-high fourth goal midway through the third against the Canadiens. He has three goals and one assist in his last three games against the Capitals.

Phoenix will have rugged forward Daniel Carcillo back Thursday after the winger served a two-game suspension handed down by the NHL on Friday for a fight during Wednesday's game against Chicago.

This will be the first meeting between the Capitals and Coyotes since Jan. 1, 2007, when Phoenix won 3-2 at Washington. The visiting team has won each of the last five games in this series.

2008-2009 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Oct 23 '08WSH 1 at PHX 2P. Mueller
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
A. Semin76511+6200
M. Green7426+4841
M. Nylander7246+2410
B. Laich7235+3211
S. Fedorov7145+7600
A. Ovechkin7224+4800
T. Fleischmann7123-1000
J. Schultz7033-1400
D. Steckel7112-2600
B. Gordon5112+1201
N. Backstrom7022+1000
T. Poti4022+0200
E. Fehr3022+1000
M. Bradley7101+01000
M. Jurcina7101-2600
S. Morrisonn7011+11400
C. Clark7011-1600
J. Erskine5011+21100
D. Brashear5011-1700
V. Kozlov3011+0400
T. Sloan2000+0200
C. Bourque1000+0000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
J. Theodore52-2-0131262.92.897
B. Johnson31-1-17612.71.885
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
O. Jokinen6167+11010
S. Doan6404-12510
K. Turris6134-3001
K. Yandle6134-41000
S. Reinprecht5044+3200
P. Mueller6303-1222
M. Boedker6303-1200
K. Sauer6022+21400
K. Porter6022+0000
M. Hanzal6022-3200
E. Lisin2101-1000
T. Fedoruk6011+21500
Z. Michalek6011+1000
D. Hale6011-4500
D. Morris6000-1200
E. Jovanovski6000-3200
D. Winnik6000-32700
V. Tikhonov6000-3200
D. Carcillo4000-1400
B. McGrattan1000+0000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
I. Bryzgalov52-3-0171533.41.889
M. Tellqvist11-0-01321.00.969