Game 7 Preview: Caps at Phoenix Coyotes

Posted by Dave Nichols | Thursday, October 23, 2008 | , | 0 comments »

Looking to get a struggling power play back on track, the Washington Capitals (3-2-1) face the Phoenix Coyotes (2-3-0) at 10:00 pm ET from Arena in Glendale, Arizona.

The Caps find themselves squarely in the middle of the pack in terms of PP goals scored, with five total, and 18th overall in the NHL at 15.6 percent (5-for-32). But that doesn't tell the story about Tuesday night's match-up in Calgary, as Washington frittered away a nine minute power play, a result of rookie D Tyler Sloan's crunching -- but legal -- hit on F Daymond Langkow, and the retribution faced from Rene Bourque, who received instigator, unsportsmanlike, fighting and misconduct penalties on the play.

Washington's penalty kill ranks 25th in the league at 75.7 (9-for-37).

And the injuries continue to pile up on the Caps in the early going. John Erskine suffered a bruised calf muscle in Calgary, limiting him in yesterday's practice, making his questionable for tonight's game. That adds him to the list of Viktor Kozlov and Tom Poti, still not ready to play from their injuries. If Erskine can't go tonight, Sergei Federov will slide back to the blue line and Eric Fehr will rejoin the line-up.

Jose Theodore (2-1-0, 3.17, .880), fresh off his quality performance Tuesday night, will get the start again in net.

The Phoenix Coyotes enter this one losers of their last three games - all on the road - to Chicago, Ottawa and Montreal. They scored but five goals total on the three-game road trip. Coach Wayne Gretzky must hope that some home cooking will wake his team's scoring from it's early season slumber.

Phoenix ranks 12th in PP% at 19.0 (4-for-21) and 10th in PK% at 85.0 (3-for-20).

The Coyotes are led on offense by RW Shane Doan (4-0-4, -1), C Olli Jokinen (1-5-6, even) and C Steve Reinprecht (0-4-4, +3). The Caps are well familiar with Jokinen, who comes to the desert after playing the previous seven season in south Florida for the Panthers. He's a dangerous goal scorer and should be accounted for whenever he's on the ice.

Backup G Mikael Tellqvist starts tonight for Phoenix in his first action of the young season. Last season he went 9-8-2, 2.75, .908 in 22 games for the Coyotes.

CAPS: LW Alexander Semin (6-4-10, +7); D Mike Green (4-2-6, +4), C Sergei Federov (1-4-5, +7)

COYOTES: RW Shane Doan (4-0-4, -1); C Olli Jokinen (1-5-6, even); C Steve Reinprect (0-4-4, +3)


CAPS: RW Chris Clark (0-1-1, -1); C Nicklas Backstrom (0-1-1, +1), LW Dave Steckel (1-1-2, -1)

COYOTES: D David Hale (0-1-1, -5); D Keith Yandle (1-2-3, -5); C Daniel Winnik (0-0-0, -4)


CAPS: D John Erskine (calf-DTD), LW Viktor Kozlov (knee-OUT), D Tom Poti (Groin-DTD)

COYOTES: D Jonas Ahnelov (hand-IR), C Joel Perrault (concussion-OUT), LW Daniel Carcillo (Suspension)