Coyotes Turn Back the Capitals, 2-1

By Tarik El-Bashir
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 24, 2008

GLENDALE, Ariz., Oct. 23 -- The Washington Capitals took a one-goal lead into the third period thanks mostly to José Theodore's best performance of the season.

Theodore, however, could only do so much.

The Phoenix Coyotes capitalized on a pair of defensive breakdowns in a span of about three minutes, then thwarted a late surge from the Capitals to send them to a third consecutive loss, 2-1, at Arena.

After scoring at least three goals per game in the season's first five games, the Capitals are officially in an offensive drought after posting a single goal for the second straight game, their fewest goals in a two-game span since last January.

"We played well the first two periods, but we came out flat in the third period and got out-worked," winger Matt Bradley said. "There's no excuse for that. We have to do some soul searching."

Alex Ovechkin had another un-MVP like performance, going scoreless for the sixth time in seven games despite putting seven shots on net. One of his best chances came with about a 1 1/2 minutes remaining, when he had the puck on his stick at the top of the crease and no one but Coyotes backup goaltender Mikael Tellqvist between him and his first goal since the second game this season. But Tellqvist made the stop and the Coyotes held on to snap a three-game losing streak.

Theodore turned aside the first 26 shots he faced, and Brooks Laich gave the Capitals a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal near the midpoint of the second period.

Then things unraveled -- and quickly -- in the third period.

Just 2 minutes 29 seconds into the final frame, the Coyotes pulled even on a goal by Mikkel Boedker after a giveaway in the Capitals' zone by defenseman Tyler Sloan, who was skating in only his second NHL game.

"He had options," Coach Bruce Boudreau said of Sloan's mental mistake. "He could have put the puck off the glass. He's got to make that play."

Then at 6:32, Peter Mueller beat defenseman Shaone Morrisonn to the net and fired in a cross-ice pass from Martin Hanzal.

"He only had one guy to cover," Boudreau said of Morrisonn's misplay. "Two major mistakes, two point-blank shots and now you're fighting from behind."

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