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Connor Ingram’s 26-save shutout, Nick Schmaltz’s 2 goals helped Coyotes crush Capitals 6-0

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Following an explosive first period where they scored five goals, the Arizona Coyotes demolished the Washington Capitals 6-0 at Mullett Arena.

The Coyotes came into the matchup as one of the hottest teams in the NHL defeating the St. Louis Blues 4-1 on Dec. 2.

With that victory, Arizona won their last-four games, had 26 points on the season and surpassed the Blues for fourth place in the Central Division.

Furthermore, this matchup against the Capitals was the fifth and final contest in-a-row where the ‘Yotes played a Stanley Cup champion from the six-years.

Last-Five Games (Championship Years in Parenthesis)

  • 2-0 W at Vegas Golden Knights, Nov. 25 (2022-23)
  • 3-1 W vs. Tampa Bay Lightning, Nov. 28 (2019–20, 2021–22).
  • 4-3 W vs. Colorado Avalanche, Dec.2 (2021-22)
  • 4-1 W vs. St. Louis Blues, Dec. 4 (2018-2019)
  • Washington won the 2017-18 Stanley Cup

Also, ex-Coyotes, Capitals goaltender Darcy Kuemper and Dylan Strome, returned to the valley to face one of their former teams.

As the third-best team in the Metropolitan Division coming, Arizona seemed to have a tough test ahead with a physical Washington team.

But, a switch flipped early and the Coyotes came out hungrier than ever before at Mullett Arena.

First Period

To begin the game, the Coyotes were off to a slow start.

The ‘Yotes only had one shot through the first-8:46 of the initial period as most of the puck possession was with Washington.

That second ‘Yotes attempt on Kuemper was a power-play goal which kick-started an offensive onslaught.

Crashing the net, Coyotes rookie Logan Cooley tapped home a pass from left wing Clayton Keller to get Arizona on the board, 1-0.

Additionally, Cooley’s third goal of the season was his first NHL goal at home.

Moments later, ‘Yotes winger Michael Carcone would let go of a wrist-shot from the middle of the face-off circles to give them a 2-0 lead.

Not done yet, Arizona would go onto yet another man-advantage after Capitals bruiser Tom Wilson received an interference penalty on Coyotes defenseman Josh Brown.

Making Wilson and Washington pay, “Desert Dogs” right wing/center Nick Schmaltz fired a bullet past Kuemper’s glove and all of a sudden, the ‘Yotes went up 3-0.

As a result, Kuemper was replaced by Capitals backup netminder Charlie Lindgren.

However, the switch in goal did not stop Arizona as they would continue to pour it on.

In a time-span of 1:26, Schmaltz netted his second of the game before ‘Yotes right wing Jason Zucker got in on the action with a breakaway and going backhand.

At the end of the period, the Coyotes were up 5-0 over the Capitals even though they narrowly outshot the Caps, 10-9.

What also came from the first period was that Arizona broke a franchise record.

For only the third time ever, the Coyotes led 5-0 after one period of play, with the last time being Oct. 29, 1986.

Second Period

Right out the gate, Washington center Aliaksei Protas sacrificed his body by blocking a slap-shot, but couldn’t get up.

Soon, Protas was attended to by the Capitals medical staff before being helped off the ice and didn’t return.

Despite, being down by as much as they were, Washington continued to push in the second period with play becoming equalized on both sides.

On an odd-man rush, Capitals left wing Sonny Milano had golden opportunity to shoot, but his try was rejected by ‘Yotes defenseman Juuso Välimäki sliding in the way.

As the period wore on, Arizona goaltender Connor Ingram continued to stand tall as he negated two opportunities from Strome while on the penalty-kill.

Because of a bad break from the Capitals, ‘Yotes centers Alex Kerfoot and Nick Bjugstad were fortunate to go on a 2-on-0 breakaway.

Passing it back and forth, Kerfoot slid the puck to Bjugstad who finished over a sprawling Lindgren to help Arizona continue to cruise, 6-0 with 3:06 remaining in the middle period.

Things got spicy as Capitals left wing Beck Malenstyn hit Cooley. Shortly after, Coyotes forward Liam O’Brien gave Malenstyn some choice words before the officials separated them.

Following the next whistle, Schmaltz and Washington center Nick Dowd shoved one another.

Dowd would ultimately be the only one sent to the penalty box for holding.

After things got heated, temper’s settled down and the period finished 6-0 Arizona.

Third Period

Going into the final-20 minutes of regulation, Keller set up Välimäki for a one-timer with Lindgren out of position.

However, Välimäki’s bid with the whole net open ended up hitting the post.

Coyotes defenseman Josh Brown was also a recipient of a pass wide-open from Keller, but Brown’s shot hit Lindgren’s chest.

Almost half-way through the third period, the Capitals started to let out their frustration as they couldn’t bury a goal past Ingram.

With 11:08 remaining, Washington right wing Nicholas Aube-Kubel hooked Välimäki in the right corner of the Coyotes’ defensive zone.

Knowing that he already had one penalty, Aube-Kubel cross-checked Välimäki while still on the ice.

A scrum ensued as O’Brien and Arizona defenseman Michael Kesselring got into the faces of the Capitals players that were involved in the meet-up.

When split, Kesselring received a roughing call while Aube-Kubel was sent to the box for hooking and roughing infractions.

Ingram remained resilient as he continued to stonewall every chance the Capitals threw at him.

Postgame Notes

Following a first period where they scored five of their six goals, the Coyotes blanked Washington 6-0.

Patrolling Arizona’s net, Ingram stopped all 26 shots he faced for his third NHL shutout of his career.

On the other side, Kuemper’s return to Arizona, this time, was a rough one to say the least, giving up 3 goals on only 5 shots.

In relief, Lindgren stopped the remaining 19-of-22 attempts from the ‘Yotes.

Both Keller and Kerfoot recorded three assists to lead all Coyotes in points tonight.

Carcone’s goal was his 12th of the season (team-high).

With this victory, the Coyotes improved to 13-9-2 on the season with 28 points, and remain fourth place in the Central Division.

Completing a five-game home stand, Arizona host the Philadelphia Flyers at Mullett Arena on Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. MST.

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Alec Cipollini is a reporter of the Arizona Coyotes and Cardinals for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on his X account @AlecCipollini

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