After failing to score in the first 49 minutes against Mike Smith (30 saves), Washington tallied three times in a span of 5 minutes, 2 seconds. Carl Alzner started the surge with a goal at the 9:45 mark. Just 32 seconds later, Brooks Laich tied it on a feed from Jason Chimera.
It was a successful Washington debut for goalie Jaroslav Halak, who made 31 saves. Halak, acquired from the Buffalo Sabers in a deadline deal on Wednesday, helped Washington snap its three-game losing streak.
Less than two hours before the game, Washington signed Russian forward and 2010 first-round draft choice Evgeny Kuznetsov, who watched in street clothes as the Capitals generated few quality scoring chances in the first two periods.
The Coyotes took the lead with 62 seconds left in the first period when Washington lost the puck in the neutral zone as it began a transition play. McMillan turned the mistake into a breakaway goal, his first in the NHL since scoring in the 2011 playoffs for Anaheim.
It might have been the second goal for McMillan. Midway through the period he appeared to score off a rebound. But officials ruled that McMillan simultaneously pushed the puck and Halak's pad across the goal line.
In the second period, Phoenix made it 2-0 as Vrbata redirected a shot from the point by Michael Stone.
After getting shut out Thursday at Boston, Washington appeared destined for a second straight shutout until Alzner scored from deep as Yandle appeared to screen the view of Smith — starting the big comeback.
Notes: Phoenix forward Martin Erat was booed on many occasions when he touched the puck. Erat was dealt by Washington this week after scoring one goal for the team. In November, Erat asked to be traded, complaining about a lack of playing time.
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