Capitals squandered third-period lead, falling to the Coyotes 3-2

Caps squander third-period lead, fall to Coyotes originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

WASHINGTON — The Capitals had all the momentum midway through the third period Saturday but lost it as the Arizona Coyotes erased a two-goal deficit to hand Washington its fourth straight loss.

Arizona scored all three of its goals in the final period, spoiling an evening that saw Alex Ovechkin set the record for the most goals with one NHL franchise. Washington (5-6-2) fell below .500 for the first time since digging out of its 0-2 start to the year.

The game was the Coyotes’ first of 14 straight road contests, an NHL record necessitated by their use of Arizona State’s Mullett Arena as their temporary home venue after Glendale elected not to renew its lease for Gila River Arena.

Here are three takeaways from the Capitals’ loss to Arizona.

Ovechkin’s surge puts him in record books

Although the Capitals and Coyotes went scoreless in the first period, the home team came out looking like the much better team.

Washington enjoyed long possessions in Arizona’s defensive zone and generated four high-danger chances that required some impressive play from Coyotes goaltender Karel Vejmelka to stop. That trend carried over into the second period and the Capitals finally broke through.

Ovechkin scored on a power play to give his team the lead, setting a new record for the most goals with a single team in the process.

After a slow start to the year that saw him score only twice in his first six games, Ovechkin has started to look much more like his future Hall-of-Fame self with five tallies over his last seven. His seven goals on the year rank first on the Capitals this season.

Coyotes climb back with replay reviews

After Anthony Mantha gave the Capitals a 2-0 lead 3:23 into the third period, the Coyotes worked their way back into the game with two goals that required visits to the video booth before they could be confirmed.

The first goal came when defenseman Josh Brown picked up a loose puck that Darcy Kuemper lost in some traffic and fired it home on a score that Washington unsuccessfully challenged for goalie interference.

Arizona then tied it up on an attempt by winger Nick Ritchie, whose shot hit the crossbar and bounced straight down. A review determined the puck passed the goal line before bouncing back out, resulting in a Coyotes goal.

Meltdown ends with a leaky puck

After shutting out the Coyotes for the first 46 minutes of the contest, Kuemper and the Capitals fell apart in the third period.

Washington looked like it might at least send the game to overtime and secure a point, but the Coyotes’ third-period surge wasn’t done yet. Ritchie scored the game-winner with 35.4 seconds left, taking advantage of a puck that snuck through Kuemper’s pads with a shot right from the doorstep.

Arizona is in the middle of a rebuild and the offense looked the part over the first two periods, but it was the Capitals who left the arena with a bunch of question marks. One of them was the status of defenseman Dmitry Orlov, who exited the game with a lower-body injury.

Originally listed as questionable, Orlov never made it back to the contest. The team was already down defenseman John Carlson as well as five forwards. The Capitals will look to regroup Sunday before hosting Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night.

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