Pregame: Caps and Stars; Fighting for the Lead

GAME TIME IS 7 pm ET

Washington Capitals: 40-9-4

Dallas Stars 35-15-5

So, the Washington Capitals appear to be out of the reach of any other team in the league with 84 points. The Blackhawks trail at 76 and the Dallas Stars—the Caps opponent on Saturday—trail with 75 points. Dallas is desperate to regain the Western Conference lead and needs a win on Saturday to jump ahead of the Hawks.

ovi holby

Saturday will come down to a battle between goalies as well as key players. The Caps and the Stars had a pretty remarkable Thursday with Alex Ovechkin and Patrick Eaves scoring hat tricks in their games. Eaves only has seven goals this season so it was a crazy night for him. Although we don’t expect to see that kind of performance from him on Saturday, he could motivate team leaders Jamie Benn (62 points) and Tyler Seguin (60 points) to follow suit. They are slightly above Caps leaders Evgeny Kuznetsov (54 points) and Nicklas Backstrom (52 points).

Any way you look at it, this should be just as exciting a match-up as when the Stars visited Washington in November 2015. It was a close game, 3-2 Stars. Seguin and former Caps’ player Cody Eakin scored first followed by Jason Spezza with the game-winning goal. Ovechkin and Backstrom (who had the assist on two of the three Ovi goals Thursday) scored twice that night. Zach Parise, who seemed to be everywhere Thursday, was the third star of the night in November for his assists.

It’s the last of a three-game trip and the Caps need to wrap this up and get back home to prepare for the Los Angeles Kings. Kuzy took a bit of a hit to the head on Thursday night but has cleared the concussion protocol, according to Vogs, and will be back with the team Saturday. The team was off Friday—some of them spent the day golfing. We’ll see what comes out of morning skate and post the lines for you  soon as we have a better idea.

Injury Report and Team Scratches

Jay Beagle: Yes, he is still injured and not ready yet.

Brooks Orpik traveled with the team. There is a rumor he might play but we aren’t holding our breath.

 Photos by Brittney Marcum

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