It has been a long time since the Washington Capitals beat the Dallas Stars in regulation. In fact, last season’s overtime win in Dallas was the first time the Capitals had managed to beat the team in a while. Dallas has an all-time mind-boggling record of 21-2-5 against Washington since the Stars moved to town in 1993.
Unfortunately, they’ll be meeting a fairly hot team in tonight’s contest, so a win isn’t necessarily all but written in ink for this one. The Capitals have one of the best records of late, going 10-2-0 in their last 12 games.
Dallas is coming off of one of their most successful road trips this season, collecting five points of an eight possible in four contests against Eastern Conference opponents (wins against the New York Rangers and New York Islanders, with a regulation loss against the New Jersey Devils and an overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers in what I can only classify as “bizarre” to be polite when it comes to whatever phantom call that was against Alexander Radulov in overtime, but I digress.)
Marc Methot practiced today, nearly four weeks after he had his knee scoped on November 20th. He isn’t ready to return yet, but he should be on track to return in that four- to six-week time frame originally given for his recovery.
With Methot still out, I’d expect the Stars to continue rolling with what has been working for them of late:
Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Devin Shore
Mattias Janmark - Jason Spezza - Alexander Radulov
Antoine Roussel - Radek Faksa - Tyler Pitlick
Remi Elie - Martin Hanzal - Gemel Smith
Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Dan Hamhuis - Greg Pateryn
Stephen Johns - Julius Honka
Ben Bishop will take the net tonight, with Jamie Oleksiak and Brett Ritchie your likely scratches.
Washington may be hot lately, but they aren’t killing it on the road either. They’ve got a steady .500 point percentage on the road this season, going 7-7-1. They are getting some help in the lineup tonight, though, as TJ Oshie returns after missing six games with a concussion.
Washington should roll a lineup resembling the following:
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana - Evgeny Kuznetsov - TJ Oshie
Andre Burakovsky - Lars “The Tiger” Eller - Brett Connolly
Chandler Stephenson - Jay Beagle - Alex Chiasson
Matt Niskanen - Dmitry Orlov
Brooks Orpik - John Carlson
Madison Bowey - Christian Djoos
Braden Holtby should have the net tonight. Fun fact: Dallas is the only team Holtby has never beaten in his NHL career. Additional fun fact: John Walton, the Capitals play by play announcer for the radio, has never called a regulation win versus Dallas in Big D since he started with the team seven years ago.
Players To Watch
Stars captain Jamie Benn really enjoys playing against the Capitals. He has scored 11 points (4 goals, 7 assists) in his last nine games versus Washington.
For the Capitals, keep your eye out for Jakub Vrana. He’s currently tied for 4th in rookie goal scoring with 10 goals this season so far.