Capitals Start Roadtrip Against Stars

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Capitals will visit the Dallas Stars for the first of two meetings between the teams. Last season, Washington prevailed in Dallas for the first time since 2006 with a 4-3 come-from-behind win. The two teams won their respective conferences a couple of years ago and were the two top teams in the league. The game is slated for an 8:30 PM start on NBC Sports Washington

Washington Capitals
The Capitals have won three straight and seven of their last eight games coming into the game at American Airlines Center. They could also get their star winger T.J. Oshie back in the lineup after he missed six games with a concussion.

Supposing Oshie plays in Dallas tomorrow night, the Capitals will have a completely healthy lineup for the first time since October 13, a 5-2 win at the New Jersey Devils.

The Capitals were last in action on Saturday night against the Anaheim Ducks. Trailing 2-0 with 18 minutes left in the game, Washington got goals from Nicklas Backstrom with 16:55 left and Evgeny Kuznetsov with 12:33 left to send the game to extra time. Alex Ovechkin netted the game-winner just 1:58 into the extra session to push Washington’s win streak to three. They will look to tie a season-high four against the Stars on Tuesday.

Previous to their win in Dallas last season, the Capitals had been defeated by the Stars in nine straight contests. Washington’s last victory Dallas prior to last year came on October 26, 2008, in a 6-5 victory. The Stars have gotten a point in 11 straight games against Washington since that game. The Capitals are 30-48-17 all-time against the Stars and 14-26-8-0 at American Airlines Center.

After playing 11 of their last 14 at home, Washington will begin a three-game Western Conference road trip and play their next four on the road. After playing the Stars on Tuesday, the Capitals will go on to the desert for games against the Arizona Coyotes on Friday and the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday before going on Christmas break.

Braden Holtby will likely start in Dallas on Tuesday. The Stars are the only team that Holtby has not registered a win against in five tries, posting a 0-4-1 record with an .837 save percentage and a 4.78 goals against average. Holtby has been pulled early in each of his last three starts against the Stars. He’ll be looking to get that monkey off his back on Tuesday night.

The Capitals will look to put some distance between the second and third place teams in the Metro, the New Jersey Devils and Columbus Blue Jackets — both of whom were each in action on Monday. They both entered Monday two points behind the Caps.

Dallas Stars
The Stars return home from a four-game road trip, where they went 1-1-2. They most recently suffered a 2-1 overtime defeat at the hands of the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday. The Stars also start a stretch where they play 9 out of their next 10 games at home.

The Stars had big expectations going into the season, adding goaltender Ben Bishop, winger Alexander Radulov, center Martin Hanzal, and defenseman Marc Methot via trade and free agency, but they are barely hanging on to the second wild card in the Western Conference. Though they trail the Chicago Blackhawks for the first wild-card spot by only a single point, the Minnesota Wild and Calgary Flames trail the Stars by just a point and Anaheim is two points behind them.

Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn share the Stars’ lead with 29 points through 34 games this season. Seguin, who has 8 goals and 13 points in 19 career games against Washington, has 14 goals this season after leading the team with 26 goals and 72 points last season. Benn, who has averaged a point per game and has a +11 rating lifetime against Washington, has 13 goals this season.

Center Radek Faksa has cooled down since scoring five times and having six points in four games, registering a single assist in his last seven games. Through 23 games this season, Faksa is fourth on the Stars with 10 goals and fifth on the team with 17 points.

The Stars have allowed the second-fewest shots against in the league, averaging 29.56 shots against per game (first: the Carolina Hurricanes with an average of 29.50 shots against per game).

Bishop will likely get the start against Washington. Despite the Stars’ success against the Capitals as of late, Bishop has a 2-6-1 record in 10 career games against the Capitals dating back to his days with the Tampa Bay Lightning. His .891 save percentage in his career against the Capitals marks the third worst save percentage he has against a single opponent, and his 3.42 goals-against average lifetime against Washington is also his third worst in that category as well. He is 13-9-1 this season with a .910 save percentage and a 2.71 goals against average.

Skate Shavings:
-Star Strikers: Alex Ovechkin has 8 goals and 11 points in 14 career games vs. the Stars. T.J. Oshie has 11 goals and 23 points in 26 career games against the Stars; Oshie’s +16 +/- rating against the Stars is his highest +/- rating against a single opponent in his NHL career.
-The Capitals’ 21 wins this season are tied for third best in the league with the Golden Knights and the Nashville Predators. Only the Tampa Bay Lightning (24) and the St. Louis Blues (22) have more wins than the Capitals.
-The Capitals are 8-6-0 in 14 games against the Western Conference this season, including 3-2-0 against the Central Division.

A Look Back In Time

After scoring the first goal thanks to Andre Burakovsky, the Capitals gave up the next three goals in the game. Alex Ovechkin and T.J. Oshie each scored power-play goals in the third period to tie the game at three for the Capitals. Jay Beagle struck in extra time to give Washington their first victory over Dallas since 2008. Philipp Grubauer made 32 saves in the win, including a spectacular blocker save on Tyler Seguin with 10:31 left in the game while the Stars were on the power play.

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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