Capitals-Coyotes Preview

BY foxsports • April 2, 2016

There's little at stake for the Washington Capitals heading into the final week of the season, but they're finding motivation in getting Braden Holtby in the record books.

Holtby might be back in net in order to get a chance to tie the NHL's record for wins in a season Saturday night against the Arizona Coyotes.

Washington (55-16-6) has already won the Presidents' Trophy and set the franchise's single-season wins record with Friday's 4-2 victory at Colorado.

Partly due to their failure to advance beyond the second round of the playoffs on seven postseason trips in the past eight seasons, the Capitals' legacy will ultimately be judged on whether they can win their first Stanley Cup.

Holtby is trying to leave a personal imprint on the season. His 47 wins are one shy of the single-season record set by Martin Brodeur with New Jersey in 2006-07.

The Capitals want him to own that record, and coach Barry Trotz is considering starting him on back-to-back days for the fourth time this season after he only needed 17 saves Friday. He's won his three prior starts on no days' rest.

"Maybe it's a once in a lifetime opportunity," said Alex Ovechkin, who scored his league-leading 45th goal against the Avalanche."We're going to do our best."

Holtby has a 1.46 goals-against average while winning both career meetings with Arizona (34-36-7). He made 25 saves in a 3-2 win over the Coyotes on Feb. 22.

If Holtby is rested, Philipp Grubauer would get the nod, and he's lost his last two starts with a 4.07 GAA.

Ovechkin has 14 points in 11 career games against the Coyotes, getting two earlier this season. He's gone four straight games without a goal in Arizona, however, last scoring there in January 2006.

The Coyotes are out of playoff contention for a fourth straight season after falling 4-1 at Dallas on Thursday.

"It's unfortunate," coach Dave Tippett told the team's official website. "We came into this season with our goal of making the playoffs.

"We knew we were going to be a very young team and it was going to be an uphill battle, but what we said at the start of the year was this team has to grow this year. From where we were last year we've got growth started. We're moving in the right direction."

Part of Tippett's optimism comes from the emergence of rookies Max Domi and Anthony Duclair, who have combined for 37 goals and 55 assists.

Duclair has two goals and four assists during a five-game point streak after totaling four points over the 15 previous games.

Domi has four points in five games, and averages one over his last 15 at home.

Both Duclair and Domi were held pointless at Washington.

It's unknown if the Coyotes will have Martin Hanzal and Oliver Ekman-Larsson back. Hanzal has seven points during a five-game streak and scored a goal Thursday before leaving after the first period with an upper-body injury.

Ekman-Larsson missed one game with an illness, leaving Arizona without its top scorer at 51 points. The defenseman has one in each of the last three meetings with Washington.