Caps conclude home-heavy start vs. winless Coyotes

NHL

When the 2021-22 NHL schedule came out, the Washington Capitals knew they would need to get off to a fast start.

They’ve done just that.

The Capitals have opened the season with a seven-game point streak, two shy of the franchise record set last year, heading into Friday night’s game against the visiting Arizona Coyotes.

The game will cap Washington’s run of six home games in the first eight contests. Ten of the next 15 will be on the road.

“I said it before: I think it’s crucial to get off to a good start,” Capitals center Lars Eller said. “You don’t want to come into December and be chasing a playoff spot. I’ve seen that before; it’s hard. It’s crucial to get a good start. The first 20 games are huge.

“Now, we haven’t lost (in regulation) yet. There’s a lot of things to like about our game, but I think we can take it up a notch as well.”

Washington’s 3-2 overtime victory against Detroit on Wednesday could prove costly, as Capitals winger T.J. Oshie took a shot from the Red Wings’ Danny DeKeyser off the outside of his right foot during the third period.

Oshie, one of the team’s scoring leaders with four goals and two assists, limped to the bench but didn’t miss any shifts. He was listed as week-to-week on Thursday, however.

“There’s been a lot of good things, and I think we’ve had a chance to win every game and we’ve taken a lot of points,” Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said. “So all of that is a positive, but there are still things that we go in and we show (on video) or we talk about or we work with the players or we work with the line to try to be better.”

The rebuilding Coyotes have yet to win this season, dropping to 0-6-1 with a 5-1 loss to the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night.

The Lightning took a 3-0 lead in the opening 11 minutes.

“I think we’re all frustrated. I think it’s a good sign, a sign we care, a sign we’re doing a lot of good things and have absolutely nothing to show for it,” said Coyotes coach Andre Tourigny, whose team has been outscored 34-12 thus far. “That creeps up and creates a lot of frustration, and I understand the coaches and players are frustrated. We’re a proud group. We want to win, and we want to perform.”

Forward Lawson Crouse scored the lone goal for the Coyotes on Thursday.

“We just have to go out and keep it simple — get pucks to the net,” Crouse said. “You saw at times we had spurts where we did that and had good looks. We just need to find a way to do it for 60 (minutes). We can’t be doing it for five here and there, taking the foot off the gas, having a mental breakdown, and then they throw it down our throats. We have to figure it out, and we have to figure it out quick.”

–Field Level Media

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