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Caps blank Coyotes, pull even with Penguins in division race

Conor Sheary had a goal and an assist as the Washington Capitals defeated the Arizona Coyotes 2-0 on Friday night in Glendale, Ariz.

Washington (44-23-11, 99 points) pulled into a tie with the Pittsburgh Penguins for third place in the Metropolitan Division with four games remaining.

John Carlson also scored and Vitek Vanecek made 19 saves to earn his fourth shutout of the season and the sixth of his career for the Capitals, who are 7-1-1 in their past nine games. Washington finished 3-1-1 on their season-high, five-game road trip.

Karel Vejmelka made 27 saves for the Coyotes (22-50-6, 50 points). Arizona, which opened the season 0-10-1, has lost nine straight (0-8-1), getting outscored 49-13 during that stretch. The Coyotes also have four games remaining.

Arizona pulled Vejmelka with about 90 seconds remaining and Carlson scored into an empty net with 36 seconds to play. It was Carlson’s 16th goal of the season, a career high for the 32-year-old defenseman.

The Coyotes did not have a power-play opportunity while the Capitals were 0-for-4 with a man advantage.

The Capitals took a 1-0 lead on Sheary’s goal at 11:33 of the first period. After Vejmelka made the initial save on Justin Schultz’s shot, Nicklas Backstrom got the rebound slid a backhand pass across the crease to Sheary for the tip-in.

Washington thought it had increased the lead to 2-0 about 13 minutes into the second period when Garnet Hathaway knocked the puck in, but officials quickly waved off the goal due to high-sticking and the call was upheld after a video review.

Vanecek, who earlier made a big save on Alex Galchenyuk during a two-on-one rush, made a key save with 2:28 remaining in the game when Shayne Gostisbehere’s slap shot from the point was deflected on net by Anton Stralman in the slot.

–Field Level Media

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