Stars shutout the Capitals 2-0, return to winning ways

In a very intense and physical match, Dallas and Jake Oettinger stood tall against the firepower of Washington Capitals and their captain. Let‘s recap this affair.

After the two losses to cap off the 1-2-1 Eastern road-trip, the Dallas Stars were probably eager to return to the familiarity of the American Airlines Center. While the game in Ottawa (or should we say Kanata) was lost due to the lack of effort, there was a significant improvement in that area in the last match against Boston.

The Stars were looking to impose their style in a tough, physical game against Washington as they were trying not to lose three games in a row. It wasn’t all that beautiful but it was a well-deserved team victory at the end. Let’s dissect how it all happened.

First Period

The Stars continued in a similar fashion in the opening period against the Capitals as they finished in Boston. Starting off strong in games is heavily preached by Pete DeBoer as they are actively trying to avoid catching up in games. They did just that as they were aggressive and continued to have pressure throughout all of the first period.

While they had to survive an early penalty kill due to Joel Hanley holding a stick minor, overall they outshot Capitals 14-7 and could have led probably by a higher margin than just one goal. But what a goal that was. It all started with a strong Stars pressure one or two shifts prior, when Denis Gurianov hit a bar after a nice give-and-go with Tyler Seguin. It was all capped by enormous effort behind the goal line to dig out the puck and Nils Lundkvist knew what he had to do. In the end, it even clipped Jason Robertson’s stick to completely fool Darcy Kuemper.

After the first:

Score: Dallas 1, Washington 0

Shots: Dallas 14, Washington 7

Second Period

The Capitals wanted to bounce back in the second period after being tossed around the ice in the first. It was a very back-and-forth period but Washington did indeed control most of the action and were gaining on the Stars when it came to shot clock as well.

Actual possession time suggests the period was much more even but there were multiple grade A chances for the Capitals, especially when Alex Ovechkin picked Jani Hakanpaa’s pocket in the defensive zone but Jake Oettinger was there to the rescue, as was the theme throughout the whole game.

There was also this nasty hit from Dmitry Orlov on Mason Marchment that happened in the second period.

After the second:

Score: Dallas 1, Washington 0

Shots: Dallas 19, Washington 15

Third period

Third period was … electric, to say the least. There were so many great hockey moments on both sides of the ice. Unfortunately we cannot say the same about how the game was officiated but no one can really complain that much as it was bad for both teams on the ice.

Roope Hintz was given a penalty for an interference midway through the final stanza and there were a few interesting moments that happened in both zones. First, let me present to you the diligent penalty killing work of one Ty Dellandrea.

Dellandrea lifts the stick of probably the greatest goalscorer in NHL history to completely negate him from a yawning net of Jake Oettinger. Plays like these are worth almost the same as goals scored. Speaking of goals scored, during the same penalty kill, this happened:

Joel Kiviranta scored a magnificent workmanship goal as he pickpocketed John Carlson and Evgeni Kuznetsov to baffle Darcy Kuemper in the crease.

You may enjoy it even more from this angle.

In the end, Washington did everything they could to score but Jake Oettinger was on his mission to achieve a third NHL regular season shutout, which he eventually did. It wasn’t his sharpest game in his career, far from it, but he was there, stopping Ovechkin’s one-timers like they were flies and was helped by the goal posts at some points, too. Some goal posts were rung on both sides but eventually nothing changed the final scoresheet.

Final result:

Score: Dallas 2, Washington 0

Shots: Dallas 27, Washington 27

Coach’s corner:

Stars of the game

Nils Lunkdvist: Did you notice we haven’t mentioned the absence of Miro Heiskanen once in this review? Well, that’s because Nils Lunkdvist gave us a few good reasons not to. Not only because he almost scored a goal in the first period which was eventually credited to Jason Robertson but also because he was the Stars’ best puck mover on the blueline and very steady on the backend.

Joel Kiviranta: The depth scoring is crucial for the Stars and if they can get performances out of the fourth line players like this one consistently, they’re in a good spot.

Jake Oettinger: Having a shutout in a game where you’re not at your best while facing Ovechkin on the powerplay multiple times is … scary. Jake Oettinger continues where he left off during that Calgary Series. Here is some love (or just stating facts) from NHL PR:

The next game

Dallas Stars (5-2-1) host New York Rangers (3-3-2) in an afternoon game on Saturday with a 1PM start time. We can expect Miro Heiskanen to be back in the lineup according to what Pete DeBoer said before the Capitals game. If the Stars decide to start Oettinger, we might see a titanic battle between him and Igor Shesterkin.

Don’t hold your breath yet as the Stars will have two days between the Rangers game and the Kings game and it’s entirely possible we might see Scott Wedgewood playing his first game of the season just to keep him in a good rhythm. It will also be a Blackout Jersey match. But for now, let’s just enjoy this victory over the Caps.