WASHINGTON — Finally, the Washington Capitals cashed in on a power play at home and not a moment too soon.
Alex Ovechkin snapped a home power-play drought and John Carlson scored the winner with 45.4 seconds left on the clock in overtime as the Capitals came back to beat the NHL-worst Arizona Coyotes 3-2 on Monday night for their first three-game winning streak of the season.
Washington hadn’t scored on its past 21 home power plays, with the team’s hallmark in previous seasons looking like a weakness.
“We just have to manage the puck because we knew exactly what we have to do out there,” said Ovechkin, who scored his team-leading 12th goal in the second period. “Sometimes it’s working, sometimes it’s not. Finally, it’s nice to get a goal. It was a big goal for us, as well.”
The Capitals went 1 for 6 on the power play against the Coyotes, who were penalized four times for slashing. Washington is 2 for 25 this season at Capital One Arena, but Carlson sees progress.
“I think it’s just a matter of sticking to it and seeing some pucks go in and building some momentum that way,” said Carlson, who leads all NHL players in ice time at 27:14 per game. “We see the numbers and scoring chances and all that kind of stuff and we watch the film and know what’s going on. There’s no curtain over our eyes.”
Arizona fell to 2-8-1 when scoring first but picked up a point for the third time in five games. Of course, coach Rick Tocchet wasn’t happy about the lack of discipline that kept his team from earning its first regulation victory.
“The slashing and hooking, you can’t do that against this team,” Tocchet said. “It’s carelessness. Yeah, there’s a couple maybe you could argue, but you can’t swing your stick. They’re going to call it.”
The Capitals will take the two points any way possible, but this wasn’t pretty. They fell behind 2-0 as the Coyotes scored on their first two shots: Clayton Keller’s rookie-best 11th of the season, then Christian Fischer on a deflection.
Washington scored on a backhand by Devante Smith-Pelly and poured it on against Arizona goalie Scott Wedgewood, who stopped 37 of the 40 shots he faced and was one of the best players on the ice.
“He kept us in it,” Fischer said. “Credit goes to him. He bailed us out, and he gave us that point.”
Carlson gave the Capitals the second point with his first goal of the season on his 50th shot after T.J. Oshie whiffed on his attempt. Washington’s de facto No. 1 defenseman with Matt Niskanen out hadn’t scored since March 29, which was 16 regular-season games ago.
As happy as he was to see the puck finally go in, Carlson understands everything about the Capitals’ game right now is a work in progress.
“We’re just kind of finding our way and figuring out what’s working for us,” he said. “We’ve got to put a couple of these together. We didn’t start like we wanted to, so we’ve got a lot of work to do. Just keep finding ways to win. That’s the name of the game.”
NOTES: Ovechkin scored his 216th career power-play goal, one back of Jaromir Jagr and Hall of Famer Mike Gartner for 10th in NHL history. … Capitals D Madison Bowey left midway through the second period after blocking a shot but returned for the third. … Coyotes LW Anthony Duclair was a healthy scratch for the fourth time in five games.
Coyotes: Visit the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night as coach Rick Tocchet faces his former team and gets another Stanley Cup ring.
Capitals: Also on a back-to-back as they visit the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night.
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