Do you know the last time the Washington Capitals won a game in regulation in Dallas? They’ve never won on American Airlines Center ice in regulation it’s been that long. You have to go back to Reunion Arena days in 1995 to find their last regulation win in Big D.
As they continue to dominate the top of the league in the standings, the Capitals will look to shake that particular monkey off their backs.
Dallas offers a good opponent for whatever seems to ail the opponent these days. Power play struggling? No problem! Dallas has the second-worst penalty kill in the league at 75.2% today. Penalty kill struggling? No problem! The Stars power play is middling, at best, at a 17.0% clip (good for 19th in the league). With the offensive power the Stars have on the roster, you’d think that would be better, wouldn’t you?
The Capitals obliterated the Blues on Thursday night, hanging seven goals on them. That game led to the Blues leaving goaltender Jake Allen in St. Louis to “reset” while the team went on the road.
The Stars are coming off of a wildly inconsistent jaunt through New York state: a 4-1 loss to the Sabres, a wild 7-6 win over the New York Rangers, and a 3-0 shutout at the hands of the Islanders, arguably the worst team in the Eastern Conference.
In other words, things seem to be setup for the Capitals to snap their streak of 9 straight losses to the Dallas Stars. But, the Stars have a secret weapon at their disposal...if he brings his A game tonight.
After failing to find offense against the New York Islanders on Thursday night, Lindy Ruff will be changing out his forwards in an effort to spark something. Brett Ritchie and Curtis McKenzie will draw back into the lineup.
It was an optional skate this morning, so we’ll have to wait until warm-ups to see who will be coming out of the lineup most likely. Mark Stepneski reported this morning that he believes Lauri Korpikoski is one of the forwards coming out of the lineup.
Kari Lehtonen will get the start in net. He looked solid against the Islanders, helping the team kill off seven penalties in the game. That’s a big deal, considering the Stars had been on a streak of over six games straight allowing a power play goal to their opponent.
It also helps that he’s pretty much owned the Washington Capitals since coming to Dallas.
That’s a 7-0-0 run by the big Finn in which he allowed an average of just 2.00 goals against, including a 5-0 shutout on Verizon Center ice.
The Capitals will run the same lines they had in their win versus St. Louis on Thursday night. Philipp Grubauer will get the start in net tonight with his dad in attendance to watch. John Carlson, their leading scorer on the blueline, skated half-way through morning skate this morning but doesn’t appear to be quite ready to draw back in after going down two games ago with a lower body injury.
Capitals lines and defensive pairings should look something like this:
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom -T.J. Oshie
Marcus Johansson - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Justin Williams
Brett Connolly - Lars Eller - Andre Burakovsky
Daniel Winnik - Jay Beagle - Tom Wilson
Karl Alzner - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Dmitry Orlov
Taylor Chorney - Nate Schmidt
THING TO WATCH
The Washington Capitals blueliners are very active in the offensive side of their game — they’ve collectively combined for the second most assists in the league (behind only the New York Rangers). The Capitals also lead the league in most games where they’ve scored 7+ goals in a single game.
The Washington Capitals are top in the league in goal differential. They’ve yet to lose in regulation in 2017.