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Coyotes rally, end road trip with win vs. Capitals

by Adam Vingan

WASHINGTON -- In the first three games of their four-game Eastern Conference road trip, the Arizona Coyotes inspired little confidence in their overall play.

With four goals in three regulation losses, the Coyotes entered their game against the Washington Capitals on Sunday at Verizon Center with the fewest points in the Western Conference.

Trailing 3-1 entering the second period with the possibility of a winless road trip looming, the Coyotes rallied by scoring five consecutive goals in a 6-5 victory.

"Just keep working. As simple as that," Arizona coach Dave Tippett said, recalling what he told his team during the first intermission. "We wanted to end the trip on a good note. Things hadn't gone our way and we wanted to just keep working and see what happened. … I like the way we played there, right from the start."

Antoine Vermette. Michael Stone, Shane Doan (two goals), Sam Gagner and Tobias Rieder scored for the Coyotes. Devan Dubnyk, who made his third start of the season, stopped 32 shots.

"They're up 3-1 and it was frustrating," Doan said. "But that second period, we just kept trying to do little things. Obviously, it's not the type of game we need to play, but it's a win and we need to build on it."

Tom Wilson, John Carlson, Alex Ovechkin, Joel Ward and Troy Brouwer scored for Washington, which has lost four in a row.

"We need to be better, period," Capitals defenseman Mike Green said. "We let a game slip away. Us as guys in this dressing room need to figure it out."

Ovechkin's goal was his first in six games, ending his longest drought since Nov. 12-23, 2011. With four points, Ovechkin tied Peter Bondra's franchise points record with 825. Nicklas Backstrom had three assists; it was his NHL-leading 27th three-assist game since his rookie season of 2007-08.

After starting the season 3-0-2, the Capitals have lost four straight and five of six (1-5-0).

"[Their] behavior has to change or we have to change people," Washington coach Barry Trotz said. "I mean it's plain and simple. Their ice time, look at different people in different situations. To me, it's absolutely unacceptable. They have to fix it. It's my job to fix the behavior. I don't like the behavior. If they're not going to fix it internally, individually, then I'll make sure I fix it."

The Coyotes entered the game with nine of their 22 goals this season on their sixth-ranked power play. With Evgeny Kuznetsov in the penalty box for holding Rieder, Vermette gave Arizona a 1-0 lead at 7:14, picking up the rebound of an Oliver Ekman-Larsson one-timer from the point.

Forty-nine seconds later, Wilson tied the game for Washington. Ovechkin hooked off near the left point and threw a puck toward the goal. Wilson, who boxed Ekman-Larsson out near the crease, deflected the shot over Dubnyk's glove for his first goal of the season.

Carlson put the Capitals ahead 2-1 at 9:49, working a give-and-go with Backstrom off an Arizona defensive-zone turnover created by Wilson. Ovechkin then padded Washington's lead at 16:09 with a patented one-timer on the power play from the left faceoff circle.

By the end of the period, the Coyotes had allowed 17 first-period goals on the season, the most in the League.

In the second period, the Capitals' lack of discipline gave the Coyotes three power-play opportunities, which allowed them to eventually tie the game. Stone's goal came one second after Karl Alzner's hooking penalty expired, but Stone fired the puck past Justin Peters (24 saves) from above the right circle before the Capitals defenseman could re-enter the play. Doan scored from in tight with 3.7 seconds remaining in the period.

"Our power play's been great all year," Doan said. "Our first three goals were pretty much on the power play, the second one was right when the guy stepped out of the box. For all intents and purposes, that's three power-play goals. We had to find a way to generate something 5-on-5, and that momentum the power play gives right before the period is huge."

Sloppy defensive-zone play led to each of Arizona's first two third-period goals, first by Gagner, whose short-side top-shelf goal at 3:05 was the result of a Washington turnover in the left corner. Doan scored his second at 4:33 when Ovechkin muffed a pass near the blue line.

"You always hear coaches talk about the blue lines and 10 feet inside the blue lines, a lot of chances to get pucks out," Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik said. "There's a lot of good teams, good players in this League. If you don't execute those plays in this League, it usually comes back to haunt you. A lot of it is puck management. Mistakes are going to happen, but you'd like to identify those and not make the same mistake over and over."

Rieder, who made his NHL debut, scored on the rush at 15:33.

"I just wanted to go out there and do my job," Rieder said. "Do the little things right, and it turned out to be a great game."

The Capitals scored two late goals; Ward scored on the power play at 18:07 and Brouwer scored his fourth goal of the season with 27 seconds remaining.

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