ARLINGTON, Va. -- With the Washington Capitals and Arizona Coyotes each playing on the road Saturday, neither team held a morning skate prior to their game Sunday at Verizon Center.
The game features two teams in need of a victory to halt recent skids.
The Coyotes have lost the first three games of their four-game Eastern Conference road trip, the most recent a 3-0 loss to the previously winless Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday. In losing six of seven (1-5-1), Arizona has the fewest points in the Western Conference with seven.
"There's lots of glaring holes in our game," captain Shane Doan told The Arizona Republic following the loss to the Hurricanes. "Pretty embarrassing."
Washington has lost three straight and four of five (1-4-0) after a 4-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Capitals have not necessarily played poorly during their slide. Washington has held a second-period lead in each of the four losses and its Corsi-for percentage in close situations at 5-on-5 is 55.04 in the past five games, according to war-on-ice.com.
"It’s very difficult to try to stay on course when frustration's setting in a little bit," forward Troy Brouwer told The Washington Post. "We're doing a lot of the right things. When you’re not winning, it’s tough to focus on the positives, but that's what we need to do."
Goalie Justin Peters will start for the Capitals. Goalie Devan Dubnyk will likely make his third start of the season for the Coyotes; No. 1 goaltender Mike Smith has a 3.92 goals-against average and .883 save percentage in the first three games of Arizona's road trip.
Here are the projected lineups:
Mikkel Boedker – Antoine Vermette – Shane Doan
Sam Gagner – Martin Hanzal – Martin Erat
Rob Klinkhammer – Justin Hodgman – Lauri Korpikoski
Brandon McMillan – Kyle Chipchura – Joe Vitale
Oliver Ekman-Larsson – Zbynek Michalek
Keith Yandle – Michael Stone
David Schlemko – Connor Murphy
Scratched: B.J. Crombeen, Chris Summers
Injured: David Moss (upper body)
Alex Ovechkin – Andre Burakovsky – Joel Ward
Marcus Johansson – Nicklas Backstrom- Troy Brouwer
Jason Chimera – Evgeny Kuznetsov - Eric Fehr
Jay Beagle – Michael Latta – Tom Wilson
Brooks Orpik – John Carlson
Karl Alzner – Matt Niskanen
Nate Schmidt – Mike Green
Scratched: Liam O’Brien, Jack Hillen
Injured: Brooks Laich (upper body), Aaron Volpatti (upper body), Dmitry Orlov (wrist), John Erskine (neck surgery)
Status report: Aside from the goaltenders, neither the Coyotes nor Capitals should significantly alter their lineups.
Who’s hot: Ekman-Larsson has assisted on two of the Coyotes' four goals in their past three games. … Johansson has scored three 5-on-5 goals in 10 games after scoring two in 80 last season.