By Dave Vest
WASHINGTON -- The Coyotes will begin a two-game trip tonight with a game against the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center. The puck drops at 5 p.m. (Arizona time).
Phoenix (29-17-5), which last played a road game on Jan. 7, has a 10-9-3 record away from Glendale.
Ilya Bryzgalov, who stopped 41 of 43 shots in a victory over Nashville on Thursday, will be in goal for the Coyotes. Head Coach Dave Tippett said Bryzgalov and his teammates had better be ready to go.
"They are a high output team," Tippett said. "They have lots of high-end skill and they come at you very hard. I think they're the leading goal scoring team in the league so we'll have to make sure we defend very well."
Washington does, in fact, lead the NHL in goals scored with 191 in 50 games. If you do the math, that's an average of 3.8 goals per game.
“If there’s anything I really like it’s that everybody’s contributing,” Capitals Head Coach Bruce Boudreau told the team's official Website. “We’re not relying on Alex (Ovechkin) at 25 minutes a night and (Alexander) Semin at 25 minutes a night. They’ve been kept to 20 and 19 and 16 minutes a game because everybody else is flourishing. So there is no fatigue setting in in what could be a very long season.”
The Capitals (32-12-6) have won five games in a row, including a 6-3 thrashing of the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday.
"We've got to make sure we don't give them any free opportunities," Coyotes captain Shane Doan said. "We know they're going to create a few on their own, we just can't give them too many opportunities that they don't have to work for."
Backup Michal Neuvirth will start in goal for the Capitals.
Coyotes right wing Scottie Upshall has notched five points in the past four games, including a hat trick on Thursday vs. Nashville. He leads the team with 17 goals.
Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin enters the game with an eight-game point streak. In that span he has scored six goals and notched 12 assists. He leads the NHL in plus/minus at plus-29.
The Coyotes likely will play minus forward Daniel Winnik again tonight. Winnik missed Thursday's game vs. Nashville because of an upper-body injury. Winnik will be especially missed on the penalty kill against Washington, which has scored 10 power-play goals in its last 20 opportunities.
Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov has won 26 games this season. That ties a career high for Bryzgalov, who won 26 games in each of his first two seasons with Phoenix.
Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett played 61 games for the Capitals in 1990-91 and 30 games in 1991-92.
"Discipline will be a big factor for us tonight... We want to play a solid road game and see if we can get a win."