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Capitals-Coyotes Preview @NHLdotcom
Capitals-Coyotes Preview

GAME: Washington Capitals (14-24-5) at Phoenix Coyotes (22-21-2).

TIME: Monday, 4 p.m. EST.

Rookie Alexander Ovechkin continues to be one of the NHL's biggest offensive threats on one of the worst teams in the league.

After helping the Washington Capitals snap a season-high six-game losing streak with his first career hat trick, Ovechkin will try to lead his club to consecutive wins for only the third time this season when the Capitals visit the Phoenix Coyotes.

Ovechkin scored all of Washington's goals Friday, including the winner 2:04 in overtime, in a 3-2 victory over the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. It was his sixth multigoal game and 16th multipoint contest of the season.

"My teammates gave me great chances to score," said Ovechkin, who has scored at least one goal in 13 of his last 18 games. "I'm happy to score three goals and win this game. It's my first hat trick in the NHL, and it feels like my first goal in the NHL."

The Russian-born left wing leads all rookies with 30 goals and 55 points. He's taken an NHL-high 208 shots and is on track to break the league rookie record of 387, set by Winnipeg's Teemu Selanne during the 1992-93 season.

"He keeps on doing stuff like this," said Capitals coach Glen Hanlon, whose team last won two straight Dec. 22-23. "Just when I thought I've seen it all, he does something else. He did a lot of things (Friday) that were pretty impressive. I think you got a pretty good idea of what a force he is."

Brent Johnson returned from a groin injury and stopped 32 shots for the Capitals in his first game since Dec. 28.

The Coyotes are looking to tie their season-high winning streak at three after ending their three-game road trip with victories over Buffalo and Toronto.

Phoenix rallied from a three-goal deficit after the first period by scoring twice in both the second and third to defeat the Maple Leafs 4-3 on Saturday.

"We don't like to be put under the pressure to score three goals, but it's a relief that we can do it when we have to on a real huge stage like this and in an important time of our season," said Geoff Sanderson, whose power-play goal pulled Phoenix within one goal in the second period.

Curtis Joseph allowed three goals on nine shots in the first period, but stopped all 19 shots he faced in the final two periods to earn his 17th victory of the season for Phoenix.

"The first period wasn't the script that I wanted, but fortunately, the ending was," said Joseph, who played with the Maple Leafs from 1998-02. "There was a lot of emotion out there. I grew up in the area."

STANDINGS: Capitals - 33 points, 5th place, 29 PB, Southeast Division. Coyotes - 46 points, 3rd place (tied), 16 PB, Pacific Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Capitals - Ovechkin, 30 goals, 25 assists and 55 points; Brendan Witt, 109 PIM. Coyotes - Ladislav Nagy, 15 goals, 33 assists and 48 points; Sean O'Donnell, 102 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Capitals - Power play: 13.0 percent (34 for 262), 30th in NHL. Penalty killing: 78.6 percent (239 for 304), 30th. Coyotes - Power play: 18.0 percent (54 for 300), 13th. Penalty killing: 79.1 percent (223 for 282), 28th.

GOALTENDERS: Capitals - Olaf Kolzig (11-18-5, 3.40 GAA); Johnson (3-5-0, 4.56). Coyotes - Joseph (17-12-0, 2 SO, 2.69); Brian Boucher (3-4-0, 3.69).

2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Coyotes, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Jan. 7, 2004; Coyotes, 3-0. At Washington, Shane Doan had a goal and an assist, and Boucher made 27 saves for Phoenix.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Capitals - 5-13-1 on the road; Coyotes - 11-9-1 at home.

Associated Press

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