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Coyotes at Capitals Preview

Arizona is taking on the NHL's top team on Saturday night

by Dave Vest @davest4yotes / Coyotes Sr. Director of News Content

The Coyotes will attempt to even their record on their current road trip when they play at the Washington Capitals on Saturday night. The puck drops at 4 p.m. Arizona time at the Verizon Center.

Arizona (27-38-9) has lost two of the first three games of a five-game trip that concludes Monday at St. Louis.

"This is a big game for us," forward Max Domi said. "If we can find a way to win this one it's a big feather in our cap, and we can kind of move forward with some confidence and just keep building it ... We've got to stay disciplined. Obviously, it's a real good power play over there. If we stay out of the penalty box we should have a decent chance." 

Video: Max Domi previews Saturday's game at Caps

 Mike Smith, who stopped 36 of 39 shots but lost at Florida on Thursday, will be back in goal for the Coyotes vs. the high-powered Capitals.

Forward Radim Vrbata leads the Coyotes in goals (18), assists (34) and points (52), but he has notched just one goal and zero assists in the past four games.

Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson will enter the game with a four-game point streak (two goals, two assists) vs. Washington.

Captain Shane Doan will not be in the lineup for this game. Doan hasn't played since March 16 because of a lower-body injury.

Video: Dave Tippett previews Saturday's game at Caps

Washington (48-17-8) leads the NHL with 104 points with nine games left on its regular-season schedule.

The Capitals have posted a 30-6-2 record at home this season, which ties the franchise record for home wins in a season (1985-86, 2009-10).

 "You look at this team, how deep they are, they're arguably the best team in the league," forward Jordan Martinook said. "It's a good challenge for us ... Everybody needs to come out and bring their best game for us to have a chance." 

Video: Jordan Martinook previews Saturday's game vs. Caps

Goalie Braden Holtby leads the NHL in shutouts (eight), ranks second in goals-against average (2.03) and wins (38), and is fifth in save percentage (.926). He has posted a 2-0-0 record in his career against Arizona with a 1.46 goals-against average and a .941 save percentage.

Captain Alex Ovechkin is one goal shy of reaching the 30-goal plateau for the 12th consecutive season. Only two other players in NHL history, Mike Gartner and Wayne Gretzky, scored 30 or more goals in each of their first 12 seasons in the League.

Center Nicklas Backstrom has produced 10 points (one goal, nine assists) in his past five games. He ranks second in the NHL in assists (56) and fifth in points (78).



TV: FOX Sports Arizona

Radio: ESPN Phoenix 620 AM



Domi - Dvorak - Vrbata

Perlini - Martinook - Rieder

McGinn - Holland - Duclair

Crouse - Jooris - Fischer


Ekman-Larsson - Schenn

Goligoski - Murphy

Chychrun - Michalek





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