Capitals edge Coyotes to snap skid
Washington, DC (SportsNetwork.com) - Karl Alzner broke open the dam and Brooks Laich and Troy Brouwer followed him through.
The Washington Capitals, after going nearly the length of two games without a goal, got three in a five-minute flurry in the third period Saturday to beat the Phoenix Coyotes 3-2.
Brouwer scored the winner on a power play with 5:13 remaining. Earlier, Alzner scored 9:45 into the third period to end a goalless drought of 115 minutes and 45 seconds, and Laich tied the game at 2-2 just 32 seconds later.
The rally gave goaltender Jaroslav Halak a win in his Capitals debut.
Halak, who was dealt from St. Louis to Buffalo in the Ryan Miller deal and then moved to Washington at the trade deadline, made 31 saves, including 10 in the third period to help Washington snap a three-game losing streak.
"The league is very difficult. We waited, we didn't panic, we didn't give an outnumbered situation to try and cheat to try and get a goal," said Capitals coach Adam Oates. "We got the first (goal), (Laich's) line broke them down to get the second goal, and then the (power play) wins it."
Brandon McMillan and Radim Vrbata scored for the Coyotes, who had won two in a row since a four-game losing streak. They have now dropped five in a row on the road (0-3-2).
Mike Smith made 30 saves, but allowed three goals on 14 shots in the third period.
"It seemed like we stopped playing the way we played in the first and the second," said Vrbata. "When you have a 2-0 lead going into the third you have to find a way to win, and we didn't."
The Capitals were shut out 3-0 in Boston on Thursday and hadn't found the net since Laich's goal with six minutes left in Wednesday's 6-4 loss to the Flyers.
Alzner ended the scoreless streak with an odd goal. He flipped the puck on net from inside the blue line near the left boards and got some help from Phoenix defenseman Keith Yandle, who screened his own goaltender.
"It was the perfect momentum swing and the perfect line to come out right after that," said Alzner. "It was a perfect storm for us."
Laich was in front of the crease to jam in Jason Chimera's pass from behind the end line on the low left side, tying the game at 2-2 just 32 second later.
After Coyotes forward David Moss went off for tripping later, Brouwer was all alone for a rebound into a wide-open net after Smith had turned aside Nicklas Backstrom's long shot. Backstrom picked up his 51st assist of the season.
Earlier, McMillan gave the Coyotes a 1-0 lead with 62 seconds left in the first period when he got behind the Washington defense as the Capitals made a line change and beat Halak through the legs.
McMillan thought he had a goal earlier in the first period after he jammed away at the puck behind Halak's skates, getting it over the line. But the whistle blew and the no-goal was upheld upon review.
Vrbata made it 2-0 with a power-play goal 3:20 into the second period, tipping the puck over the line after it got behind Halak.
The Capitals said Saturday they have signed Russian forward Evgeny Kuznetsov to an entry-level contract, plucking their 2010 first-round draft pick from the Kontinental Hockey League. They also recalled forward Casey Wellman from Hershey of the AHL ... The Capitals remain home to play Pittsburgh on Monday ... The Coyotes started a four-game road trip that continues Monday at Tampa Bay.