On January 3, 1997, Olaf Kolzig blanked the Phoenix Coyotes by a 3-0 count in front of a sellout crowd of 18,130 at USAir Arena. The whitewash was Kolzig's first in the NHL.
Chris Simon opened the scoring at 2:22 of the first period when he beat Phoenix's Darcy Wakaluk. Exactly nine minutes later, Michal Pivonka scored on the power play to make it 2-0. The Caps outshot the Coyotes 11-9 in a first period that was littered with slashing, roughing and boarding calls and which featured a bout between Phoenix's Jim McKenzie and Washington's Craig Berube.
The second period was scoreless, but the ill feelings continued. The Coyotes' Kris King and the Caps' Kevin Kaminksi dropped their gloves at 3:36 and McKenzie was given two minutes for roughing and five for fighting at 19:35.Washington's Joe Reekie received only two for roughing. The Coyotes edged the Caps in shots on goal, 6-5.
With the Caps on the power play at the start of the third period, Peter Bondra scored at 1:16 to put the game away. The Caps held an 8-7 advantage in shots in the third and 24-22 for the game.
In his 56th NHL game, Kolzig finally notched his first NHL shutout. It would take him only two more appearances to rack up his second, on January 11 against the Rangers.