WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 21: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals battles for the puck with Adrian Aucoin #33 of the Phoenix Coyotes at the Verizon Center on November 21, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

Coyotes Vs. Capitals: Washington Ends Losing Streak With 4-3 Win Over Phoenix

The Caps, 3-7-1 in their last 11 games, ended a four game losing streak with four unanswered goals and a 4-3 win over the Coyotes.

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Coyotes Vs. Capitals: George McPhee Defends Alexander Semin's Benching

The Washington Capitals' 4-3 win over the Phoenix Coyotos on Monday night came without Alexander Semin in the lineup. Coach Bruce Boudreau elected to scratch the talented winger for poor play, a decision that surprised many in the hockey world. However, Boudreau has the backing of his general manager on that decision.

In an interview with John Feinstein of the Washington Post, George McPhee said Boudreau made the right decision on Semin, as well as with benching Alex Ovechkin and Tomas Vokoun earlier in the season.

"Bruce did the right thing with Ovie in the Anaheim game," he continued quietly. "He did the right thing when he didn’t start [Tomas] Vokoun in the opener. He did the right thing tonight sitting Semin."

Semin was benched due to lagging offensive performance and a penchant for taking penalties. SB Nation's Capitals blog Japers' Rink took a look at all of Semin's 14 minor penalties this season and determined that most of those penalties were deserved.

For more on Semin and the Capitals, visit Japers' Rink.


Coyotes Vs. Capitals: Through Criticism, Bruce Boudreau Finds Solace In Victory

Bruce Boudreau's job has seemingly been on the line over the last week, but instead of facing the music Monday, he heard the music of victory.


Capitals Vs. Coyotes: Washington Ends Losing Streak With 4-3 Win Over Phoenix

After a brutal three game road trip and four straight losses, the Washington Capitals got back on track Monday night with a 4-3 win over the Phoenix Coyotes at Verizon Center. It wasn't easy, however, as the Caps fought back from a two goal deficit with four unanswered goals.

Nicklas Backstrom scored less than two minutes into the third period to give the Caps their first lead of the game at 3-2. Backstrom set up the goal by working down low, chasing a dump-in along the boards. The Capitals forward then set up in front of Coyotes' goalie Jason LaBarbera and was able to slam a quick rebound in front past for the Caps third unanswered goal. Alex Ovechkin, who dumped the puck into the zone, got an assist on the goal for his first point in four games.

The Caps would make it a two goal lead on the power play with 13 minutes left in the third. Brooks Laich fired a rocket from the point that LaBarbera never saw. Troy Brouwer helped out and set up the screen in front. It was the third straight game in which Laich had a point.

The Coyotes Lauri Korpikoski cut the lead back to one on a rebound in front of Tomas Vokoun. A bad angled backhand shot from Boyd Gordon set up the play in front. Vokoun stopped the first rebound but the 2nd rebound bounced to his left and landed right on the stick of Korpikoski who put it in the back of an open net for his second goal of the evening.

Washington would withstand some late Phoenix pressure and hold on for the 4-3 win to improve to 11-7-1 on the season. With the losing streak now over, the Caps will host the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday.

For more on the Capitals, visit Japers' Rink.


Coyotes Vs. Capitals: John Carlson, Cody Eakin Bring Caps To Life, Tied At 2-2 With Coyotes

Just when things looked bleak, the Washington Capitals found life.

John Carlson and Cody Eakin scored two goals within a span of about three minutes to bring the Caps back into a 2-2 with the Phoenix Coyotes after 40 minutes.

Before the comeback, however, Phoenix took advantage of another Washington turnover on the power play. Lauri Korpikoski found himself on a shorthanded breakaway, the Coyotes' second of the night. This time, however, Dennis Wideman hooked Korpikoski and the latter was awarded a penalty shot. On the ensuing penalty shot, Korpikoski's snapshot beat Tomas Vokoun to give Phoenix a 2-0 lead.

Less than a minute later, a loose puck found its way to John Carlson, whose slap shot from the right point deflected off Martin Hanzal's stick and into the net for his third goal of the season at 8:27. Not to be outdone, Eakin's slap shot on the rush deflected off Keith Yandle's stick and past Jason LaBarbera for his second goal of the season at 11:36.


Coyotes Vs. Capitals: Caps Once Again In Precarious Situation, Trail Coyotes 1-0

The Washington Capitals may have returned home Monday, but so did their recent string of bad luck.

An early shorthanded goal by Radim Vrbata has given the Phoenix Coyotes a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes.

Vrbata added to the Caps' misery at 4:33 with an unassisted shorthanded goal. Nicklas Backstrom won a faceoff in the offensive zone and the puck came to John Carlson, but Vrbata got his stick on his attempted pass and skated through center ice uncontested. Vrbata deked Tomas Vokoun and found enough space to slide the puck into the net with a wrist shot for his ninth goal of the season.

The Caps actually have a 13-5 lead in shots, but Jason LaBarbera has held his ground. Near the end of the period, Matt Hendricks and Kyle Chipchura fought as the former did what he could to incite his team. Hendricks bloodied Chipchura with a punch early on as the Verizon Center crowd roared in approval.


Coyotes Vs. Capitals: Alexander Semin Will Be Healthy Scratch For Washington

In a pretty stunning turn of events, Alexander Semin, one of the four members of the "Young Guns" core of the Washington Capitals, will be a healthy scratch for the team's game against the Phoenix Coyotes, according to Mike Vogel of the team's website. The move was hinted at on Sunday when Semin was demoted to the fourth line, but now, it has become a reality.

Semin's performance has deteriorated all season, as he has taken a whopping 14 minor penalties this season and has seen his scoring fall off. Nevertheless, a demotion to being a healthy scratch is a major shift for coach Bruce Boudreau, who himself is feeling the heat for the Capitals' recent struggles. The Capitals are 3-7-1 in their last 11 games.

Semin did not participate in the team's morning skate. Mathieu Perreault will be in the lineup in Semin's place.

For more on Semin and the Capitals, visit Japers' Rink.


Coyotes Vs. Capitals: Four Players Take Option As Caps Prepare For Coyotes, Dmitry Orlov Will Make NHL Debut

BALLSTON, Va. - Not every member of the Washington Capitals was on the ice for Monday's morning skate at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, Joel Ward and Dennis Wideman took their options and did not participate.

After practice, head coach Bruce Boudreau said it "was all their choice" not to skate. Ward left Sunday's practice early after Boudreau said he wasn't feeling well, but when asked if Ward will be ready for Monday's game against the Phoenix Coyotes, Boudreau said he would be. John Erskine, who skated Monday but left Sunday's practice after taking a bump on his surgically-repaired shoulder, will be a game-time decision.

Boudreau also insinuated that Dmitry Orlov will make his NHL debut Monday. The Caps recalled Orlov Sunday from AHL Hershey.

Boudreau provided updates on Jay Beagle and Mike Green as well. According to Boudreau, Beagle has done really well the last few days, but had a "little bit of a setback." Boudreau said that Beagle hopes to skate again by the beginning of next week. Boudreau also hopes that Green returns to skating by the end of the week.

Tomas Vokoun left the ice first and will start Monday.


Coyotes Vs. Capitals: Caps Hope Return Home Brings Back Winning Ways

The Washington Capitals left D.C. last week with a debilitating 3-2 shootout loss to the New Jersey Devils. That carried over into their three-game road trip, where they scored three goals and went 0-3. The Caps return to Verizon Center Monday hoping that some home cooking with Thanksgiving three days away will bring back their winning ways against the Phoenix Coyotes.

A close loss to the Nashville Predators gave way to blowouts to the Winnipeg Jets and Toronto Maple Leafs, leaving the Caps at 10-7-1 after starting the season 7-0-0. Only the Carolina Hurricanes and Anaheim Ducks have less points through their last 10 games than the Caps' seven. The Caps, however, have a solid 6-1-1 record at Verizon Center.

Matters won't get any easier Monday against the Coyotes, who at 10-5-3 (7-2-1 in their last 10) are in the middle of a tight Western Conference. Washington, however, may be able to catch Phoenix on an off-night; the Coyotes are finishing a five-game road trip in Washington. Not only that, but if Mike Smith (9-3-3, 2.16 GAA, .936 SV%) starts for the Coyotes, his career numbers against the Caps are abysmal (0-6-0, 5.03 GAA, .843 SV%).


Coyotes Vs. Capitals: Alexander Semin Demoted To Fourth Line

Alexander Semin spent time on the fourth line during Sunday's practice and Bruce Boudreau was noncommittal when addressing his status for Monday's game against the Coyotes.

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