By Dave Vest
The Coyotes will conclude a season-long five-game trip tonight when they play the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center. The puck drops at 5 p.m. (AZ time).
Phoenix (10-5-3) will enter the game fresh off a 4-2 win at Buffalo on Saturday night that upped the team’s record to 3-1-0 on the trip. Ten different Coyotes notched at least a point in the win vs. the Sabres.
will start in goal for the Coyotes. It will be LaBarbera’s first appearance since Nov. 3 when he stopped 28 of 30 shots vs. Nashville in a 3-0 loss.
Center Boyd Gordon
will play his first game against the Capitals since signing with the Coyotes as a free agent in the off-season. Gordon played 363 regular-season games and 36 playoff games for Washington after they selected him with the 17th overall pick of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft.
“I’m looking forward to this game,” Gordon said.
Gordon has played well for Phoenix. As expected, he has excelled in the faceoff circles winning 55.7 percent of his draws; that ranks 10th in the NHL. Meanwhile, Gordon already has matched his goal and assist totals from all of last season with three and six, respectively.
“I think it’s a different year, different team, different opportunity,” Gordon said. “Since I came here I’ve been playing with some really good players and I try to make the most of it. It’s been great. I think I fit in here pretty well with the style we play.”
The Coyotes recalled defenseman Maxim Goncharov
from the AHL on Monday but he is not expected to play tonight.
"We have a few defensemen with bumps and bruises so, with three games in four night later this week, we thought it prudent to recall Goncharov at this time," Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney told phoenixcoyotes.com. "I do not anticipate any changes on our blueline for tonight's game in Washington."
The Capitals (10-7-1) have lost four games in a row and scored just one goal in each of the past three defeats – all on the road.
|Photo by Getty Images.
Their most recent defeat was a 7-1 thrashing by the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night.
In its last 11 games, Washington is scoring 2.5 goals per game and is just 4 for 43 on the power play.
"It feels like the end of the world but it's not the end of the world," Head Coach Bruce Boudreau recently told reporters.
Capitals star Alex Ovechkin has not registered a point in the past four games, and is a combined minus-6 in those games.
Capitals goalie Tomas Vokoun is unbeaten in five starts at home and has a 2.44 goals-against average in those games.