Game Preview: Dallas Stars @ Washington Capitals (6:00pm CST)
Is winning 15 of 19 good? It seems good.
International acclaim follows the Dallas Stars and their 15-4-0 record now, regardless of destination. The league continues to ascertain the long-term veracity of this apparent threat while concocting ways to overcome it.
It's as unusual as it is beautiful.
Dallas defeated the Buffalo Sabres thanks to the help of a disallowed goal that probably should have changed the whole complexion of the game, tying things in the third period instead of watching the home team fall behind by two on an empty-netter late.
They'll try to wrap up a very brief road-swing tonight with a contest against the resurgent Washington Capitals and their host of offensive weapons with which most of you are already familiar.
Dallas has been very, very fortunate against Washington in recent years, winning four-in-a-row here in DC, and seven straight overall against the Caps.
TV starts at about 6:08pm CST on Fox Sports Southwest.
Dallas had a fun-filled practice Wednesday and little in the way of substantive updates as Lindy Ruff now attempt to keep his squad focused, attentive, and also produtive against ever-increasing level of competition.
Lindy Ruff began lines something like this on Tuesday and did some shuffling, but with McKenzie and Faksa off to Texas you wonder in whose stead might Moen re-enter the lineup, and when. If he does.
Antti Niemi was commanding in stopping the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday - Magic Eightball says he will start again Thursday but it's often wrong, and we'll check that after morning skate in what happens to be our nation's capital.
Washington started hot with a 6-1-0 record that included five Western Conference teams and they're slightly diminsihed since, going 6-3-1 in their last ten. Which is as good as anyone needs in the league, particularly in the East. They're 6-2-1 on home ice to-date.
They do, quite simply, what you might expect a Barry Trotz coached team to do: They've held opponents to two goals or fewer in 10 of their 16 games - including holding the Blackhawks, Bruins, Panthers, Blue Jackets, Red Wings and Hurricanes to a single tally.
Doing something similar to Dallas would, no doubt, be quite a feather in Trotz's cap.
Only one opponent (San Jose) has managed more than 30 shots on them this year at 32. Compare to Dallas' 39, 35, 34, and 37 against. They own the league's 7th lowest GA/GP at 2.31 as of Wednesday afternoon.
Add to that their 5th best offense in the league at 3.06 GF/GP and it looks like the total package, and surely a different Eastern beast than the Stars have seen to this point in the season.
They're paced in points by Evgeny Kuznetsov (17), Alex Ovechkin (16), and Justin Williams (13). Ovechkin leads the NHL in shots as of Monday afternoon with 82 through 15 games. Tyler Seguin has 74.
From Stars PR:
The Dallas Stars travel to Washington, D.C. to face the Capitals for the first of two meetings during the 2015-16 regular season. Dallas won both meetings against Washington last season (2-0-0) and has won seven straight games (7-0-0) against the Capitals, including a four-game winning streak (4-0-0) at Verizon Center. In the most recent meeting of the series on March 13, 2015 in Washington, Dallas won, 4-2, on behind a multi-point outing from forward Vernon Fiddler (1-1=2) and goals from forwards Tyler Seguin (1-0=1) and Colton Sceviour (1-0=1). The two clubs meet again in Dallas on Feb. 13, 2016 for the final meeting of the season.
OH CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN
Stars captain Jamie Benn registered an assist (0-1=1) on Tuesday night against Buffalo and now has points in three-straight games (2-3=5). Benn ranks second in the NHL this season with 12 goals and third with 26 points (12-14=26). The native of Victoria, B.C. has recorded points in five-straight games (2-5=7) against the Capitals. He earned two points (1-1=2) last season against them, tallying one assist (0-1=1) in the most recent meeting at Verizon Center between the Stars and Capitals on March 13, 2015. In seven career games against Washington, the captain has seven points (2-5=7).