Jason Spezza's Third Period Goal Gives Dallas Stars 3-2 Win Over Washington Capitals
On the night Alex Ovechkin became the leading Russian-born goal scorer of all time in the NHL, it was the Stars who got the third-period go-ahead goal for their 16th win of the season.
It wasn't always pretty (okay, it wasn't pretty at all for most of it), but the Dallas Stars were able to put together just enough offense and hold on the final frantic minutes for yet another early-season victory, this time 3-2 over the Washington Capitals.
The Stars opened the scoring after a beautiful zone entry led to an unmarked shot from the low slot from Tyler Seguin. Patrick Sharp was just about as close to committing non-penalty goalie interference as possible on the play - as your resident rules nerd, I would have bought it either way - with a screen set at the edge of the crease. The Capitals understandably challenged, but the referees didn't see enough to overturn on their eight-inch tablets.
Washington equallized with a little more than two minutes left in the period after the Stars fourth line got scrambling when a defenseman was caught up ice along with two other forwards. The coverage never quite got sorted out, and a centering pass from Nicklas Backstrom bounced off of what appeared to be Jordie Benn's leg before trickling into the net. Benn was guarding Alex Ovechkin at the front of the net - there wasn't much else he could do about the bounce.
The second period was a bit of a mess for Dallas, if not on the stat-sheet then at least to the eye test. An early fruitless power play and some general discombobulation from the forwards on both ends of the ice meant the Capitals seemed like the much more dangerous team, despite the Stars having more shots on goal. Kari Lehtonen made some quality stops in scrambles around his net, and the Stars got their legs going a little better as the period crept on.
A bad turnover from Jamie Benn could have set the tone for a scrambly third, but it was the Stars who retook the lead five minutes in on a point shot from John Klingberg that was tipped down and in by Cody Eakin. The lead didn't last long, however, as Alex Ovechkin finally took solo first place of the NHL Russian-born goal scorers list with No. 484 when he lost Eakin at the crease for a tap in set up by Backstrom. In a fun twist, Backstrom set up previous record holder, Sergei Fedorov, on his record-breaking goal as well.
The Stars got their lead back once again with nine minutes left in the third when Jason Spezza picked off an attempted pass coming from behind the Capitals net and found a hole short side on Philipp Grubauer. That stood as the game winner despite a frantic push from the Capitals in the final few minutes, espiecally once they pulled the goalie.
16-4, you guys. 16 and freaking 4.