Phoenix at Washington
When: 7:00 PM ET, Saturday, March 8, 2014
Where: Verizon Center, Washington, District Of Columbia
Three days after he was sent packing at the trade deadline, Martin Erat will get a chance to face his former teammates when the Phoenix Coyotes visit the Washington Capitals on Saturday night. The Coyotes, who trail Dallas by one point for the second wild-card slot in the Western Conference, seek their third consecutive victory as they open a four-game road trip. Phoenix has won only once in its last 10 games away from home (1-5-4), the lone victory coming against the lowly Edmonton Oilers.
The three-game skid notwithstanding, Washington hardly looks like a team that is fighting for a playoff spot following back-to-back losses in which it has managed a total of eight shots through the first two periods. "The killer instinct isn't there right now and it needs to be there because we’re running out of time," Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner said. Washington trails Detroit by three points for the second wild card in the East and needs a victory with a back-to-back against Pittsburgh on deck.TV:
7 p.m. ET, FSN Arizona, CSN WashingtonABOUT THE COYOTES (29-23-11):
Erat, who was dealt to Phoenix as part of a four-player deal at Wednesday's trade deadline, was not much of a factor during his tenure in Washington, scoring only two goals in 62 games. The Coyotes are expecting more from Erat, who was paired with fellow Czech Radim Vrbata and finished plus-2 in his Phoenix debut - a 5-2 win over Montreal. "It's just his first game but first impressions were positive," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. "It’s not as if this is all new to him. He knows how to play the game. It’s just a matter of him getting in and getting comfortable.” ABOUT THE CAPITALS (29-25-10):
Goaltender Jaroslav Halak, who has been traded twice in the past week, is expected to make his debut with Washington on Saturday. Halak posted a 24-9-4 with four shutouts with St. Louis this season and did not see any action during his brief stop in Buffalo before he was dealt to the Capitals on Wednesday. "It's been weird, a lot of uncertainty for me," Halak told reporters following Friday's practice session. "When I heard the news I got traded again, I was really happy that I was going to be on a team that has a chance to make the playoffs."OVERTIME
1. Halak is 3-2-1 with a 2.34 goals-against average versus Washington.
2. Phoenix has won six of the past nine meetings with the Capitals, including a 4-3 shootout victory at home on Nov. 9.
3. Capitals D Dmitry Orlov is eligible to return to the lineup after serving a two-game suspension for boarding Philadelphia's Brayden Schenn.PREDICTION:
Capitals 4, Coyotes 2
Stats and Records