Gameday Preview: Dallas Stars @ Washington Capitals


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Dallas Stars
@ Washington Capitals

Monday, Mar 8, 2010, 6:00 PM CST
Verizon Center

Local TV: Versus, TSN2 (in Canada, eh?)

Radio: 1310 The Ticket (online @ stars.nhl.com)

Complete Coverage >


 

When the NHL picked up where it left off so it's top stars could go play for their respective countries of birth in the Olympics (except for the German born Dany Heatley who played for Canada), the Stars and Red Wings were tied at 68 points. Since then, Detroit's left Dallas in their wake winning 3 out of their first 4 contests out of the break while the Stars are on a three game skid.

Analysis wise, it's not hard to see why Dallas' second visit to our nation's capital in just five seasons amounts to a must win. Or at the very least, a must-get-points game.

A look at tonight's game after the jump:

The Stars:

After getting blitzed for six goals in his first start of the season and thus, indicating that Lehtonen's conditioning obviously isn't where it needs to be for a full 60 minute game, Kari Lehtonen will return to the bench tonight. Marty Turco will try to redeem himself not only for allowing 9 goals in just over 4 periods of play against Los Angeles and St. Louis last week, but for also leaving the bench and not returning when he got pulled.

According to Mike Heika, this is what he and the Stars will be up against tonight.

This team is 25-3-3 at home this year and on a franchise-record 13-game home winning streak.

So what are the Stars up against? Washington leads the NHL in scoring at 3.89 goals per game and the next closest team is 50 goals back. They have the top power play in the league at 25.1 percent and are tops in the league in shooting percentage at 11.9 percent.

Yikes.

Dallas has allowed 17 goals in the last three games. Washington has scored three or more in 23 of the last 24 (they are coming off a 2-0 win on Saturday). Jose Theodore is on a 12-0-2 roll himself and could be in net.

God be with them tonight.

Marc Crawford is speaking with the Bad Radio boys as I type this preview. Bob, Dan, and Donnie Doo are on their annual road trip with the team.

Inspired no doubt by Art's recap from Saturday, he's all about the positivity, indicating that the Stars didn't really play all that bad against Los Angeles. They just couldn't get saves.

And against the Pens, they were up against a team that was able to hit a gear that the Stars couldn't hit. Mostly because of the talent level. What so you, Crow?

"That's the reality."

Yes. Unfortunately, that is the reality.

The Capitals:

First off, if you're not reading Japer's Rink on a daily basis, you're missing one of the best hockey blogs in not just the entire SBN family of hockey blogs, but in all of hockey and all of sports.

Today, they have a weekly look at each individual player on the roster to see if they're trending upward, downward, or holding steady. In particulary, I wanted to see what they have to say about their trade acquisitions.

Let's start with Joe Corvo, who was acquired from Carolina to help bolster the Caps blueline.

Notched his first point as a Cap on Saturday night, but don't be surprised to see his scoring rate drop off the table in D.C. - he averaged 4:38 of power-play time in Carolina, but just 2:27 of extra-man time in his first two games in Washington. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but something to keep in mind.

And proceed on to the forward unit where Jason Chimera was added from Columbus to help provide depth for this Eastern Conference powerhouse.

One goal and a plus-three rating upon returning from a lower-body injury will work.

And one last player update. Now I don't want to scare you all, but...

Alex Ovechkin - Ovechkin has now gone 381:35 of Caps' game time (i.e. six-plus games) without a goal, but with as many shots on Saturday night (seven) as he had in his previous two games combined, seems to be on the verge of busting through. When he does, watch out.

Why do I have a sneaking suspicion that when will become 'tonight'? Now I realize the Stars snapped Evgeni Malkin's point streak on Saturday. But that was a point streak.

Let's hope the inverse to this rule doesn't hold true tonight.

The Injuries:

Dallas: Brian Sutherby (shoulder) is out.

Washington: None.

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