Coming into Washington tonight, the Stars needed a complete team effort to beat a dangerous team and give them the chance to wake up tomorrow in a playoff spot.
The first half of the first period was pretty slow as both teams got some good pressure, but took most of their shots from the outside. Kari and Jaroslav Halak played a part in the slow pace as they swallowed up most of the chances that came their way.
The first really great chance of the night for the Stars came about 5 minutes in as Vern Fiddler sent a centering pass in the air to Colton Sceviour who tipped it high and wide from right in front of Halak. 3 minutes later, Trevor Daley took a penalty, putting the ever-lethal Capitals powerplay on the job.
The Stars' kill did a great job, generating two breakaway chances right off the bat. Cody Eakin missed wide, but Ryan Garbutt was hooked on his way in on Halak, putting the two teams at 4 on 4, which opened things up. Neither team scored, however.
Ovechkin had a lot of jump in his game to start and came really close when he turned Goligoski inside out a bit on a 1-on-1 rush, but Goligoski stood him up and played the body really well, forcing the Great 8 to take a week one-hander which Kari had no real trouble handling.
Almost immediately after that, some good pressure led to a weird series of bounces and a Tyler seguin bounce pass which hopped in the air in the slot, where Jamie Benn caught it, put it on the ice, and ripped a knuckling puck at Halak, which Seguin tipped into the net, giving the Stars a 1-0 lead. After the goal the Stars started to really get their wheels going and controlling the play. Razor made the great point that after the goal the Stars' play looked automatic and precise while the Capitals looked like they were paralyzed at time.
The Stars controlled the play right out of the gate, with their best chance coming off of a Fiddler and Horcoff 2 on 1 which Fiddler couldn't bury past Jaro Halak.
The, after the Caps tried to spring Grabovski on a breakaway, Trevor Daley whipped a great pass to Alex Chiasson who went in on a 2-on-0 with Ray Whitney when the Capitals made a terrible linechange. Chiasson centered the puck to Whitney, who out-waited a sliding Halak and buried the puck.
Then, 34 seconds later, a shot from Trevor Daley created a scramble to the left side of Halak's net. In the mayhem, Dustin Jeffrey pulled the puck out and lifted it into his net for his first goal as a Dallas Stars. The goal chased Jaro Halak, as Braden Holtby came in as relief.
The Stars almost made it 4-0 not long after as Benn, Seguin, and Nichushkin broke in on a 3-on-1, but Benn's redirection went just wide of the cage.
The Stars continued to control the game until a Cody Eakin penalty with 1:22 left put the Capitals back on the powerplay.
After the Stars killed the penalty the Capitals continued to pressure and got some quality chances, but the Stars kept up their pressure.
Following a 2-on-1 between Nichushkin and Benn which Holtby stopped, Alex Chiasson coralled the puck on the right wing of the offensive zone and sent a pass to Ray Whitney, who passed the puck to Dustin Jeffrey at the side of the net for a shot that beat Holtby.
With 6:06 left in the game, Brenden Dillon was called for a high-sticking penalty on Nicklas Backstrom and the Capitals went to the powerplay again. After two great saves by Lehtonen, including a rebound by Jason Chimera, Ryan Garbutt won a race to the cleared puck and broke in on Holtby, slipping the puck 5-hole for a 5-0 lead.
The Stars took a few more penalties late in the game, including a 5-on-3, but they defended very well and drew a penalty on Eric Fehr. After some brief 4-on-4 play, the Stars ended the game on the powerplay.
- The Stars have finally started to get some secondary scoring, all of their lines looked dangerous tonight.
- Patrik Nemeth was quietly very good tonight. He played a calm and sound defensive game and made some good passes.
- The Capitals continue to amaze me. You can tell that they're always dangerous, no matter the score they kept making some good plays and applying pressure and drew a lot of penalties, but they gave up a lot of chances going the other way.
- Alex Chiasson played a very good game tonight, and ended up with 3 assists.
- Kari Lehtonen was great again tonight. He played with a lot of confidence. He was challenging shooters and controlling his rebounds very well.
- The Stars played with a great mix of good defense and speed tonight and did a lot of damage on counterattacks. With two points tonight they have a shot at moving back into playoff position depending on the outcome of the Phoenix-Winnipeg game.