The Washington Capitals were on a record breaking win streak at home, and a win tonight could have meant a tie with the Boston Bruins in the top five for longest home win streak. The Stars? They were coming off a 2-1 win on Saturday against the Florida Panthers following a 5-4 loss to the New York Islanders.
Every point counts though, right?
In a bit of a scramble early in the game, Devin Shore comes out with what could be a goal from right inside the goal crease. Should it have been a goal? I’ll let people who have studied the crease and goaltender interference rules a little better than I have. Either way, Brooks Orpik pushed Devin Shore into the crease, Shore didn’t clear the crease, and Braden Holtby wasn’t able to cross the crease to save the goal.
I mean, you tell me.
The first period turned into a bit of a special teams battle. Cody Eakin broke his stick in a textbook cross checking on TJ Oshie’s shoulder. Despite completely forgetting entirely about Alexander Ovechkin’s very existence, the Stars managed to kill that penalty on a really stellar performance from Kari Lehtonen.
Kevin Shattenkirk, newly minted Washington Capital defenseman, tripped Curtis McKenzie, but the Stars were not only not able to capitalize on the man advantage, they weren’t able to get a single shot off in the direction of the net.
Brett Ritchie had a holding penalty in a late period scrum in front of the Stars net. Not taking the penalty could have given Jakub Vrana a wide open chance at the net with the puck, as Lehtonen was tied up at the top of the crease. The Stars were able to kill that penalty as well.
Despite a really good breakaway chance for Remi Elie, the Stars weren’t able to add to their tally, but they did hold off the Capitals to take the game into the first intermission up 1-0.
The second period started off as beautifully at the first period did, with Niklas Backstroke turning the puck over right in front of Holtby. Radek Faksa made going five hole on a Vezina candidate look easy.
About two minutes later Jason Spezza got a shot off from the dot that went far side on Holtby and that was it. Holtby has (still) never won against the Stars. Hello to Philipp Grubauer.
Cody Eakin took the second of his questionable penalties tonight in a check on Grubauer, but thankfully the Stars were able to kill that penalty as they did the first. The Capitals also took a penalty, a tripping call against Backstrom.
However, on Swedish night in the Verizon Center (seriously, they had fans putting Ikea furniture together), the Swede was not to be denied. With about four minutes left to go in the second period, Backstrom redirected a shot from Shattenkirk right in front of the goal. For some reason none of the Stars felt the need to position themselves between Backstrom and Lehtonen, so that had the stink of inevitability. There’s only so much Lehtonen can do in one game.
Plus, he saved a close chance from Ovechkin on literally the next shift. He had his work cut out for him.
Still, the Stars held on to a 3-1 lead heading into the second intermission. The dads were very proud.
The third period was the iffiest for the Stars. It began with a holding penalty to Patrick Nemeth that the Stars were able to kill.
A little over halfway through the third, TJ Oshie lifted the puck over Lehtonen’s pads in another close up, high danger goal. The Stars were abysmal at defense tonight, and Lehtonen deserved his first star recognition.
Still, despite giving up 16 shots in the third period and taking only 5, the Stars held on for their second win in a row, breaking the Capitals win streak at home.
The dads were very happy.