The Washington Capitals (15-9-3) visit the Arizona Coyotes (13-11-2) on Thursday night for a 9:00 p.m. (ET) puck drop at Gila River Arena. This will be the final meeting of the season between these two teams, their previous matchup on Nov. 11 at Capital One Arena resulted in a Coyotes 4-1 win over the Capitals. The game will be broadcasted on NBCSN Washington and FAZ+.
The first of three road games for Capitals was against the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. The Capitals lost the game 5-3. Scoring for the Capitals were Jakub Vrana, with two goals, and Alexander Ovechkin.
The Coyotes faced off against the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday, winning 2-1.
What to watch for in the Washington Capitals:
During Tuesday night’s matchup with the Golden Knights, Washington’s Tom Wilson left during the second period after a blindsided hit from Vegas’s Ryan Reaves. Reaves got a five minute interference major and a game misconduct that took him out for the rest of the game.
— NBC Sports Capitals (@NBCSCapitals) December 5, 2018
As of right now, Wilson is injured as the Capitals said that he didn’t return to the game on Tuesday due to an upper-body injury. Wilson’s presence on the ice, both physical and offensively, has been noted by many. In just 11 games, he has recorded 14 points (8 goals and 6 assists). With the possibility of him being out could shift up the lineup, as the Capitals are still with out TJ Oshie (concussion). Both Wilson and Oshie are the team’s top right-wingers. The expected replacement for Wilson is possibly Travis Boyd, who is a regular scratch for the team.
Boyd has been with the organization for five seasons but has spent three of them with the AHL affiliate Hershey Bears. During the 11 games that he has played with the Capitals this year, he has recorded five assists.
With the absence of Wilson and his physical presence, we expect to see Ovechkin step up. We saw what Ovechkin could do with his physical play in Tuesday night’s game, where he demolished Vegas’s Tomas Nosek at the blue line. So, expect Ovechkin to help with the hitting in Thursday night’s game against the Coyotes. Also, we could see the increase physicality from Nicklas Backstrom, who record six hits in Tuesday night’s game.
Alex Ovechkin's big hit on Tomas Nosek. 😳 pic.twitter.com/k99TZlnmvY
— Ian Oland (@ianoland) December 5, 2018
In Thursday’s matchup, expect Pheonix Copley to relieve Braden Holtby in net. Holtby has played in the past eight games, starting seven of them.
What to watch for in the Arizona Coyotes:
Leading the Coyotes in points (19) is Clayton Keller, who is in his second season in the league. In his past three games, Keller has recorded two goals and three assists, and is looking to extend his point streak.
Along with Keller extending his point streak, the whole team is looking to extend their current four game win streak to five.
A key player that had an impact from the last time these two teams matched up was Richard Panik. In the Nov. 11 matchup, Panik recorded a goal and an assist.
Goaltender Adin Hill is expected to make the start for the Coyotes in Thursday’s matchup. Hill has helped the Coyotes to their previous four straight wins.
Score Prediction: Capitals 3-Coyotes 1