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Preview: Coyotes vs. Capitals

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

GAME 27:

Coyotes (13-11-2) vs. Capitals (15-9-3)

Arizona will attempt to push its winning streak to a season-high five games when it hosts Washington on Thursday night in the first game of a two-game homestand.

WHERE: Gila River Arena | WHEN: 7 p.m. (AZ time) | TV: FOX Sports Arizona Plus | RADIO: ESPN 620 AM


• The Coyotes return to home ice after stretching their winning streak to four games with a 2-1 triumph at Los Angeles on Tuesday. 

• Adin Hill, who has been the winning goalie for all four games during the victory streak, will start in goal vs. the defending Stanley Cup champs. Hill is 4-0-0 with a 0.56 goals-against average and a .977 save percentage in five appearances this season, and recently was named the NHL's Second Star of the Week. Antti Raanta, who has been sidelined the past three games, missed Wednesday's practice but is considered day-to-day. So is Darcy Kuemper, who practiced with teammates on Wednesday. Both Raanta and Kuemper are nursing lower-body injuries. Calvin Pickard is expected to be Hill's backup vs. Washington.

Tweet from @ArizonaCoyotes: Tonight's projected lineup. #OurPack | #ARIvsWSH

• The Coyotes are looking to sweep the two-game season series from Washington. Arizona beat the defending champs, 4-1, at Capital One Arena on Nov. 11. 

• Arizona is leading the NHL with 11 short-handed goals, which also is tied for the second most shorties scored in a season in Coyotes history. The 1999-2000 Coyotes scored 14 short-handed goals. Meanwhile, Arizona has scored a power-play goal in each of the past three games and five of the past seven.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Clayton Keller and Nick Schmaltz all will enter the game with a three-game point streak. Schmaltz has produced two goals and three assists since coming to Arizona in a trade with Chicago on Nov. 25.

Video: OEL: "We have a lot of confidence in the group"

Niklas Hjalmarsson is leading the Coyotes in plus/minus at plus-9, and has blocked a team-high 59 shots. He's also the team's busiest penalty killer; he's logged a team-high 88:34 of short-handed ice time, which is 18-plus minutes more than any of his teammates.

• The Coyotes are 6-0-1 in their past seven home games vs. the Capitals, and have not lost to Washington in regulation at home since Jan. 16, 2006. 

 "They don't lose very often," Head Coach Rick Tocchet said. "They're going to be focused tonight. We have to be focused. We can't slip just because we won a few games."

Video: Tocchet Previews Caps 


• Washington has lost two games in a row after winning seven straight ... The Capitals, who rank sixth in the NHL with 97 goals, have scored three or more goals in 20 of their 27 games this season, including 10 games with five or more goals ... Alex Ovechkin, who ranks tied for second in the NHL with 20 goals, has notched 13 points (eight goals, five assists) during a nine-game point streak. He is just one shot shy of becoming the ninth player in NHL history to record 5,000 shots ... John Carlson's 29 points are tied for third in the NHL among defensemen and his 16 primary assists lead all NHL blueliners ... Braden Holtby has allowed 10 goals in his past two starts vs. Anaheim and Vegas ... Tom Wilson, who left Tuesday's game at Vegas because of an upper-body injury, is not expected to play.

Tweet from @ArizonaCoyotes: "I think we've been playing our style of hockey the last couple of games." - Clayton Keller Hear from Keller and Hill ahead of #WSHvsARI:


"We have been finding a way to get back to playing the way that we should play ... I feel like we have a lot of confidence in the group and we need that to play fast and feel good about ourselves." -- Oliver Ekman-Larsson

• "It's a work in progress. There's still another level or two for this power play (to reach). It's still not where I want it to be, but it has produced for us and gotten us some big goals in the four-game winning streak." -- Rick Tocchet 

• "It's cool to know that you're going up against the defending Stanley Cup champions, especially with guys like Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom out there for them. They've got a lot of stars on their team, so it will be an exciting game, but at the end of the day it's just another game and we're looking to get the two points." -- Adin Hil

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