We predicted that this would be one of the toughest matches for the Washington Capitals, and we weren’t wrong. Before the game Tom Wilson told Alan May that the Caps had to match the Stars intensity to win and get two points. Unfortunately the real intensity didn’t show up until the third period and was too little too late. Although a goalie swap in the third seemed to fuel the team, they just couldn’t pull out of the hole they were in. The Stars have now beat the Caps for the ninth time since 2008.
First Period: Fast Pace on Choppy Ice
Swift feet during the first period as both teams flew to the crease. Stan Galiev, playing the fourth line tonight had a great shooting opportunity—no goal though. The first penalty of the night was called against the Caps because they can’t count—this is becoming a bad habit. Dallas power play went without a goal. Nate Schmidt’s snap shot hit the crossbar on the Caps third shot on goal; Stars had six by then. Stars kept the puck in the Holtbeast zone for most of the period while the Caps played catch up with 5 SOG to 8 by the Stars.
Penalties: Burakovsky served the Caps penalty for too many men on the ice.
Second Period: Shooting Stars
Two minutes in and Dallas scores: Janmark with a wrist shot past Justin Williams and Holtby. Holtby then goes all acrobatic to protect the net from another intrusion. Holbty even robbed Cody Eakin on a snowy shot, which we always like to see. And at 1312 the Stars did it again. Caps go on the power play with a slash on Dmitry Orlov but to no avail. The Caps turned the puck over to the Stars too many times, giving Dallas control of the ice. The Stars weren’t finished. They would go up one more on the Caps before the end of the period. As if it couldn’t get any worse, Tom Wilson was called for interference with a little less than two minutes in the period. Brooks Laich figured he would add to the woes and join Willy in the box with a high stick. And of course the Stars scored one at 19.23 and they still have PP time to go. Caps had 6 SOG but the Stars fired off 13, three of which hit the mark.
Goals: Mattias Janmark assisted by Ales Hemsky (Stars); Jamie Benn assisted by Patrick Eaves and Patrik Nemeth; Tyler Seguin, unassisted. Tyler Seguin assisted by John Klingberg and Patrick Sharp.
Penalties: Cody Eakin in the box for slashing Orlov. Tom Wilson for interference against John Klingberg. Brooks Laich high sticking agains t John Klingberg.
Score: 4-0 Stars
Third Period: Nail-Biter Attempt
The Caps started the period with 51 seconds left on the PK and a new goalie in the net as Phillip Grubauer steps in for Holtby. Thankfully, the Stars didn’t score again on their PP. Caps got their power play at 17.10. The man advantage give Ovechkin just what he needed to do what he does—score on his second shot of the game and the period. Some fancy footwork, a sweet wrist shot, and J-Will gets one in the back of the net (4-2 Stars). The Caps would have another fruitless attempt with their second PP of the period but Burkovsky wasn’t content with that and fired one in with a little help from his friends. 4-3 Stars. Burkie tried to get one more in but Lehtonen was too much of a brick wall to crack through. The Caps tried as hard as they could—Wilson with a shot on the post—but couldn’t tie it up.
Goals: Alex Ovechkin assisted by John Carlson and Nicklas Backstrom; Justin Williams unassisted. Andre Burakovsky assited by Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov.
Penalties: Jordie Benn interference against Jason Chimera. Evgeny Kuznetsov holding against Johnny Oduya.
Final Score: 4-3
What’s the big take-away from tonight? If we have to face Dallas in our final run for the cup, it isn’t going to be pretty. The second period showed some cracks in the armor. Although the Caps have only lost 10 games now, this was one from which they will probably learn the most as the move closer to the playoffs. If they want to beat the Dallas Stars they will need to play the way they did in the third period right from the start.
Sunday: Day off
Monday, 15 Feb, Practice 1030 at Kettler Ice Plex
Tuesday 16 Feb, Morning Skate 1015 at Kettler Ice Plex
Tuesday 16 Feb, LA Kings at Verizon Center, 7 pm. Watch CSN and listen on 106.7