Capitals blank Coyotes 4-0 as Strome scores two goals; Kuemper stops 26

The Capitals began their western road trip in Tempe AZ by paying a visit to the new Mullett Arena against the Arizona Coyotes. The key to the win was a solid commitment to a full game including minimizing Arizona’s chances to score. Dylan Strome had two goals in the game and Darcy Kuemper posted his NHL-leading fifth shutout after stopping all 26 Arizona shots.

The game’s first goal was scored by Dylan Strome at 3:03 of the first period. Strome deflected a point shot by Dmitriy Orlov. The deflection bounced off the ice and then past goalie Karel Vejmelka to give the Capitals the lead.

The Capitals increased their lead in the second period. Sonny Milano scored his eighth of the season at 17:32. The play was initiated by an outstanding forechecking effort by both Milano and Tom Wilson. Backstrom’s recovered the puck on, and on the ensuing turnover, and moved it to Wilson, who had to Arizona defenseman converge on him. He quickly slipped the puck to Milano, who was waiting alone on the opposite side of the net. Washington made it 3-0 while they were on the power-play late in the period. It was set up by another Dmitry Orlov point shot that appear to hit several bodies in front, and was eventually tapped in by Tom Wilson.

The game’s final goal was scored in the third period just after a powerplay for the Coyotes had expired. Evgeny Kuznetsov led the rush and fed Marcus Johansson for a shot, which rebounded off Vejmelka. Kuznetsov picked up the rebound and placed his pass onto Strome’s stick, who put away the wrister from a sharp angle into the net.

The game featured two disallowed goals, one on each side; both were called back due to coach’s challenge reviews. Lars Eller scored in the second period only to have his goal back when it was ruled he had interfered with Vejmelka. Just past a minute into the final period, Arizona had a goal called back when it was ruled that Nick Schmaltz had crossed the blue line ahead of the puck rendering the play offside.

NOTES—Anthony Mantha was once again a healthy scratch. Alex Alexeyev replaced Matt Irwin on the blue line. Along with Strome, Orlov and Kuznetsov each had multi-point games. The Capitals travel to Las Vegas to continue their road trip against the Golden Knights on Saturday the 21st. Scheduled start time is 10 PM ET.

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