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Preview: Dallas Stars @ Washington Capitals (6:30pm CST)

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National television tonight. That usually goes well.

NHL: Dallas Stars at Washington Capitals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

We are fast approaching the time of year when the fate of the day-to-day comings and goings of our dearest Dallas Stars loses its luster a bit.

You can attach value to individual performances and try to glean something related to the expansion draft protection riddle- Or else just hope for a good draft pick, but that’s counter to wanting to see the guys have fun and do well.

Come on, tankers- You smiled when ol’ Johnny went bar-down on the Panthers the other night. You know you did.

Another activity you might engage in is wondering which team looks like it could save us from disappointment come playoff time- That disappointment could come in the form of a Western Conference team winning the Stanley Cup, which I just can’t abide.

Enter the Washington Capitals, who are fairly inoffensive to the Stars fans base, historically, or should be considered as much- And they’re good. Obnoxiously good. They have a good chance of stopping the Wild, for instance.

Oh, we could not abide that. No. Not the Wild.

You wouldn’t root FOR the Capitals (one team per league/sport to a person, thank you) but they could certainly come in handy should the Hawks or Wild make their way to the SCF.

Then again, that would make Matt Niskanen a Stanley Cup Champion. Huh. But Blues fans would have to watch a couple of their once beloveds hoist it, so there’s fun to be had on both sides of that coin.

In the mean time the Stars will throw [young defense] against [one of the best goal scorers of all time] and hope to entertain us once more as that string plays itself out.

For everything that says the Stars should get creamed, like everyone said heading into the Penguins game last week, there’s also a bit of weird history that gamblers like to know when looking at these kinds of things that says the Stars do well there, though I tend to think that history has nothing to do with one evening’s hockey game.

Here’s a good blurb on it from “Monumental Sports Network”...

Washington will be aiming for a 16th straight victory on home ice when the Stars visit the District on Monday, but it will be doing so against a traditionally difficult opponent in Dallas. The Capitals have dropped five straight games (0-4-1) to the Stars in D.C., getting outscored by a combined 20-9 in the process. The Caps’ last home ice triumph over the Stars came more than a decade ago; it was a 4-3 win on Nov. 30, 2006.

Since the Stars moved south to Dallas from Minnesota in 1993, the Capitals are 3-10-1 at home against Dallas, and the Stars have outscored the Caps by a combined total of 53-30. [“Dump ‘n Chase”]

Did you catch the part about how they’ve won 16 home games in a row? That’s treating your supporters right.

They recently got Oshie back from a four-game absence, Brooks Orpok back from a three-game absence, and Niskanen back after two games out. So they’re good, and they’re getting healthy for their run.

Why are they good? They’ve allowed 130 goals this season. That is absurd. The next closest team has allowed 147. The Stars have allowed 208 (second most to the Avs).

And they’ve also scored the second most goals in the league behind the Pens.

Second-most goals scored, second-fewest goals allowed. It’s almost like you can be EXCITING. AND you can play solid defense. Crazy talk.

Their lines-

  • Ovechkin-Backstrom-Oshie
  • Johansson-Kuznetsov-Williams
  • Connolly-Eller-Vrana
  • Winnik-Beagle-Wilson

——-

  • Alzner-Carlson
  • Orlov-Niskanen
  • Orpik-Shattenkirk

From Stars PR:

CAPITAL GAINSThe Dallas Stars travel to Washington, D.C. to take on the Capitals on Monday night at Verizon Center for the second and final game of the 2016-17 season series. The Stars have won five-straight games at Verizon Center (5-0-0) and have collected points in 11-straight overall games against them (9-0-2). Washington recorded a 4-3 overtime victory on Jan. 21 at American Airlines Center in the first meeting of the 2016-17 campaign. Captain Jamie Benn (1-0=1) and forward Adam Cracknell (1-0=1) lit the lamp for the Stars, with Dan Hamhuis (0-1=1), Curtis McKenzie (0-1=1), Patrik Nemeth (0-1=1) and Tyler Seguin (0-1=1) all adding assists. In the most recent game between the two clubs in Washington, D.C., defenseman John Klingberg tied a game-high with two points (0-2=2) and forward Jason Spezza potted the game-winning tally (1-0=1) in the third period. Forwards Cody Eakin (1-0=1) and Tyler Seguin (1-0=1) each added goals for the Stars. Goaltender Kari Lehtonen stopped 33-of-35 shots to record his fourth consecutive victory at Verizon Center (4-0-0). Lehtonen holds an 8-0-1 record in his last nine games against the Capitals, having collected points in all eight games (7-0-1) he's played against Washington as a member of the Dallas Stars.