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Game #18 Preview: Arizona at Washington

Antti Raanta to start and Carl Soderberg to play in 500th NHL game as Coyotes begin a three-game road trip tonight

by Alex Kinkopf @AEKinkopf / Game Preview

GAME #18: ARIZONA (9-6-2) AT WASHINGTON (13-2-3)

5:00 PM MST - Capital One Arena | Washington, D.C.

TV: NBC Sports Network (John Walton, Pierre McGuire)

Radio: Fox Sports 910 AM Phoenix (Bob Heethuis)

Referees: Frederick L'Ecuyer #17, Jake Brenk #26

Linesmen: Travis Toomey #90, Darren Gibbs #66

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ARIZONA AT WASHINGTON

The Coyotes open a three-game road trip tonight against the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena, marking the first of two scheduled meetings between the teams this season.

Washington will make its lone visit to Gila River Arena on February 15.

Arizona will continue its trip on Tuesday against the St. Louis and complete the journey on Thursday against the Minnesota Wild. The Coyotes are coming off a 4-3 loss to the Wild on Saturday.

The Capitals are coming off a 5-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday night, extending their win streak to six games and point streak to 11 games. Washington has scored four or more goals in each of its last six games and in 10 of its previous 11.

Ilya Samsonov is expected to start for the Capitals; former Coyotes forward Richard Panik returns to Washington's lineup after missing 10 games due to injury.

Carl Soderberg will play in his 500th NHL game this evening. Over eight seasons, the power forward has played in 161 games with the Boston Bruins, 321 with the Colorado Avalanche, and tonight will be his 18th with the Coyotes.

Antti Raanta will start in net, head coach Rick Tocchet shared following the morning skate. Jason Demers , who's missed the last two games with a lower-body injury, will be a game-time decision.

Pending Demers' status, Ilya Lyubushkin is expected to be tonight's extra along with Barrett Hayton .

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THREE THINGS

SNAP THE SKID: The Coyotes have dropped three games in consecutive fashion for the first time all season, posting a 0-2-1 record during that stretch. In fact, it is the team's first official losing streak this year; they lost two straight games to open the season on October 3 at Anaheim and October 5 against Boston. "We've got to figure it out, we can't let that happen," said Michael Gabner on Saturday. "Every point matters, and right now we've got to get back on track."

HOT, HOT, HOT: The Capitals, without a doubt, are the hottest team in the NHL right now. Entering the night with an 11-game point streak (10-0-1), Washington sits atop the league with 29 points on the year courtesy its overall 13-2-3 record. The Capitals have not suffered a regulation loss since October 14.

MODELS OF CONSISTENCY: Despite the Coyotes' struggles of late, Michael Grabner and Vinnie Hinostroza have been consistent contributors on the offensive end. Grabner, with his first period goal Saturday night, extended his point streak to four games (2G, 2A), while Hinostroza, with his second period tally, extended his point streak to three games (2G, 1A). Jakob Chychrun has scored in each of the past two games; his four goals on the season lead all Coyotes defensemen.

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LAST TIME AROUND

December 6, 2018 - Arizona (2) vs. Washington (4)

Christian Fischer opened the scoring in the first period and Lawson Crouse added another for the Coyotes in the second, but the Capitals finished the game with three unanswered goals, including two in the third period, to skate away to a 4-2 win in the teams' previous meeting on December 6 of last season at Gila River Arena.

Adin Hill made the start for Arizona that night, making 25 saves. The Coyotes finished the 2018-19 season with a 1-1-0 record against the Capitals.

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NUMBER TO KNOW

THREE HUNDRED SIXTY-FIVE (365)

It's been exactly 365 days, or one calendar year, since the Coyotes last played in Washington, D.C.. On November 11 of last season, spread scoring and sound goaltending lifted Arizona to a 4-1 win at Capital One Arena. The Coyotes scored in all three periods and Darcy Kuemper made 38 saves.

The Coyotes have earned points in each of their past two visits to Washington (1-0-1).

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QUICK HITS

  • Christian Dvorak (3G, 1A) and Clayton Keller (2G, 2A) each have four points in four career games against the Capitals.
  • The Capitals' 73 goals through 18 games played rank first in the NHL.
  • Washington has the most second period goals (28) in the NHL this season, outscoring opponents 28-14 in the middle frame.
  • The Capitals have led their games for 531:56, the most time in the NHL.
  • Arizona owns a 32-32-12-3 all-time record against Washington.
  • Derek Stepan is two assists away from 300 career NHL assists.

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Lead Photo Credit: Patrick Smith - Getty Images // Footer Photo Credit: Patrick McDermott - Getty Images // GIF Highlight Footage: Fox Sports Arizona and NBC Sports Washington

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