WASHINGTON -- Nicklas Backstrom scored early in the third period, then set up Brooks Laich's power-play goal, helping the Washington Capitals rally from a two-goal deficit and edge the Coyotes, 4-3, on Monday night at the Verizon Center.
Phoenix (10-6-3) finished its season-high five-game road trip 3-2-0. Both losses were by one goal.
The Capitals entered Monday in a serious slump, having lost six of their previous seven games, including a 7-1 setback at Toronto on Saturday. But Backstrom broke a 2-2 tie only 1:52 into the third period, lifting the puck past goalie Jason LaBarbera from near the net.
Backstrom earned an assist on Laich's goal at the 7:06 mark of the third period during a 5-on-3 power play (see KEY MOMENT below).
Lauri Korpikoski's second goal of the game, with about 8:32 left, cut the Coyotes' deficit to one goal, but they couldn't manage to pull even.
John Carlson and Cody Eakin scored even-strength goals for Washington, and Tomas Vokoun made 20 saves.
Phoenix's first two goals came during power plays for Washington. Radim Vrbata scored on a classic short-handed breakaway, and Korpikoski's first of the night came via penalty shot after he was interfered with during a short-handed breakaway. Ironically, the Coyotes entered the game with zero short-handed goals in their first 18 games.
Vrbata put the Coyotes ahead 1-0 with his team-high ninth goal of the season 4:33 into the game. Carlson was at the point on the power play when he fumbled away the puck to Vrbata, who beat Vokoun 1-on-1 with the Coyotes' first shot of the game.
In the final minute of the first period, Washington's Matt Hendricks got into a fight with Kyle Chipchura, bloodying the Phoenix forward's face. The clash drew loud cheers from the stands when it was shown on the above-ice video board, and if it was an attempt by Hendricks to fire up his teammates, it didn't pay immediate dividends.
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Instead, the Coyotes grabbed the next goal, going ahead 2-0 on Korpikoski's penalty shot 7:34 into the second period. The penalty was awarded after Capitals defenseman Dennis Wideman hooked Korpikoski, who had broken alone into Washington's zone.
Suddenly, though, the Capitals (11-7-1) came alive. One second after that power play elapsed, Carlson put in a slap shot from near the blue line, an unassisted goal 8:27 into the period that made it 2-1. And about three minutes later, Cody Eakin slapped the puck past LaBarbera - who was making his first start since Nov. 3 - to tie the score.
"There were some good spurts and sometimes we played very well and then there were still some areas we need to clean up and some players who could really give us a little more," Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "We’ll continue to push forward. We got a hard working group here.”
► EDITOR'S NOTE: Dave Vest of phoenixcoyotes.com edited this story and compiled this recap.