for this game

Coyotes scorch slumping Capitals

Feb 15, 2011 - 5:41 AM
Glendale, AZ (Sports Network) - Vernon Fiddler scored the eventual game- winning goal early in the third period and red-hot Phoenix held on the rest of the way for a 3-2 triumph over Washington.

Ray Whitney added a goal and an assist for the Coyotes, who have won five straight and moved one point ahead of Dallas and Anaheim for the top spot in the Pacific Division.

"If you wait a day, we'll could be back in fourth. That's how tight this is right now," Whitney said.

Martin Hanzal added a goal while Ilya Bryzgalov turned aside 29-of-31 shots.

Matt Bradley and Marcus Johansson each scored for the Capitals, who have lost three straight. Michal Neuvirth surrendered three goals on 18 shots.

"This [five-game] road trip is very important to us...We just need points, and everyone knows it," Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin said.

After a scoreless first period, where both teams only fired off five shots apiece, Washington broke the scoring with the game approaching the midway point of the second stanza.

Johansson set up his fortunate goal by attacking down the left boards. Just before he reached the left corner, he centered the puck and it clipped Bryzgalov's skate. The bouncing puck then went off of defenseman Keith Yandle's leg and into the net at 8:46.

Only 49 seconds later, the Coyotes netted the equalizer when Whitney lost control of the puck in the slot. Hanzal was in the right place, picked up the loose disc and finished it home with a wrister.

With 2:17 left in the second, Phoenix took its first lead, 2-1, on the power play. Shane Doan cycled the puck around the right side and Radim Vrbata centered it to the slot where Whitney swept it just inside the left post.

Phoenix took the much needed two-goal lead 4:24 into the final frame, which was created by a defensive zone faceoff win following a penalty kill. Fiddler poked the puck out of the zone and raced down the right boards to set up a 2- on-1 with Scottie Upshall. The left winger then finished the give-and-go play from the right circle for his sixth goal.

The Capitals stayed alive, though, with a goal 40 ticks later. David Steckel took the puck down the left side before getting tied up with several defenders. The disc managed to squirt away and onto Bradley's stick. From there, he sent a quick shot just inside the left circle to the far post.

Phoenix held onto the slim margin the rest of the way thanks in part to Washington's Nicklas Backstrom getting hit for a double-minor high-sticking call with 2:26 left.

Game Notes

Bryzgalov is 5-0-0 in his last five starts...The Capitals are 6-3-2 in their last 11 road games...Vrbata was credited with two assists...Washington was 0- for-5 on the power play, while the Coyotes were 1-for-3.