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Capitals top Coyotes on Fehr's OT goal

by Jerry Brown

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Goals are hard to come by right now for the Washington Capitals, but they showed plenty of perseverance Tuesday against the Arizona Coyotes.

Eric Fehr pushed home the rebound of a Brooks Orpik shot 3:16 into overtime to lift the Capitals to a 2-1 win at Gila River Arena. Washington overcame a second period in which it had two shots on goal and had to kill four Arizona power plays.

The Capitals had 41 hits -- six of them by forward Tom Wilson, five by Orpik -- blocked 14 shots and snapped a two-game skid in which they scored a total of one goal in losses against the New Jersey Devils and St. Louis Blues.

"It was a big game for us. We had to play it like a playoff game," said forward Jay Beagle, who scored Washington's first goal. "We came out hard and wanting to play that style of hockey. It feels great to play desperate and win a game like this. It's good for our confidence."

Oliver Ekman-Larsson tied it for the Coyotes in the second period, when they outshot the Capitals 10-2 and had most of their scoring chances.

Washington goalie Braden Holtby made 23 saves to improve to 6-4-2. He got help from a defense that limited Arizona to seven total shots in the third period and overtime.

"It was 1-1 after the second, but it could have been 3-1 if we don't fight to get through everything," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. "But we got through it, and they didn't generate anything in the third. Losing at home (to New Jersey) really stung, and the St. Louis game wasn't good for us. This is a big win on the road and one we needed."

Arizona played without injured defenseman Brandon Gormley and forwards Rob Klinkhammer and Martin Hanzal, who was a late scratch because of a lower-body injury sustained during warmups.

The Coyotes have lost three consecutive one-goal games at home, all on goals in the final four minutes of regulation or in overtime.

Arizona goalie Mike Smith stopped 22 shots in dropping to 4-9-1. The Coyotes blocked 17 shots, three on a penalty kill in the final seconds of the third period to keep the game tied.

"They are a dynamic offense, so limiting them to one goal (in regulation) is pretty good," said Arizona defenseman Michael Stone, who took a slap shot to the left side of the chin in the third period but returned after getting stitches. "We had the puck most of the overtime and we lose on one little breakdown."

The Coyotes and Capitals combined for 11 goals in a 6-5 Arizona win on Nov. 2, but offense was hard to come by this time. They had a total of four shots in the game's first nine minutes, and there was far more hitting than shooting.

"Things got intense," Stone said. "I don't know if this is a rivalry or anything like that, but it felt like that kind of game. There were a lot of bodies being thrown around."

The Capitals broke out on top when Coyotes defenseman Chris Summers missed the net on a slap shot from the point, starting Washington on a 3-on-2 rush the other way. Jason Chimera dropped a pass to Beagle, who used Summers as a screen and beat Smith over the blocker with a wrist shot from the slot at 11:11. It was Beagle's second goal; he has two in his past five games after going without a goal over his first eight.

"It was one of those lucky plays where they missed the net, it's rimmed up and we get a break," Beagle said. "Joel Ward did a great job driving to the net, and [Chimera] made a great pass, so it was up to me to try to put it in."

Washington is 7-1-1 when scoring first this season.

The second period was all Arizona. The Coyotes were strong in finishing a power play that carried over from the first period and rode the momentum to the game-tying goal.

Playing in his 500th NHL game, Arizona's Sam Gagner had his stick tied up by Nicklas Backstrom on the rush, but he was able to get off a spinning no-look pass that crossed the slot and found a wide-open Ekman-Larsson in the left faceoff circle. Ekman-Larsson buried his third goal into a half-empty net at 2:00 to make it 1-1.

"Gagner had two guys on him and he gives me the great pass, and I have an open net," Ekman-Larsson said. "We need to get pucks deep and get after them. We did a good job of that in the second, but in the third we backed off a little bit."

Washington went almost 13 minutes without a shot in the second period, finishing with two despite two power-play chances. The Coyotes had several good scoring chances on their power plays, but Holtby stopped Mikkel Boedker twice and Shane Doan once to keep it even.

The Capitals took over in the third, with their best chance to score coming with seven minutes left. John Carlson's shot from the point hit the skate of Coyotes defenseman Zbynek Michalek and got behind Smith. But as it trickled toward the goal line, Michalek swept the puck away with his stick, allowing his team to collect at least a point.

But Fehr made sure it was Washington that got the extra one.

"We had everyone compete hard and there's lots of desperation there," Arizona coach Dave Tippett said. "Sometimes you'd just like to see us execute a little better. Our power play was real strong in the second period, but you're looking to capitalize on chances."

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