The Dallas Stars dropped their last decision 4-3 in their 11-day, six-game road trip to Washington D.C. against the Capitals on Tuesday at Capital One Arena. Dallas didn’t win a game on this road trip but picked up two points with an overtime loss and a shootout loss. With the end of the season nearing, every point counts for both teams, especially for the Stars as they dropped out of a wild card position.
Back-and-forth play and turnovers were the story of the first period. The offensive zones were full of activity, but the Stars (38-28-8) recorded only four shots as the Capitals recorded five. Late in the period, Nicklas Backstrom took Washington’s (42-24-7) first penalty of the game, so the Stars went to work on the power play. Dallas forward Alexander Radulov sauced a beautiful no-look spin-around pass to Tyler Seguin. Seguin buried the shot over Capitals goalie Braden Holtby to ink in his 39th goal of the year. At the end of the period, Backstrom committed another penalty, which carried into the second period.
The tide shifted quick as Washington killed off two penalties early in the period. Right after the second penalty, Washington forward T.J. Oshie shot the puck short-side to beat Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen for the Capitals’ first goal of the game. One minute and 25 seconds later, former Star and Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen sniped a shot high from the blue line to chalk up a goal and take over the lead. Stars defenseman John Klingberg did not give up that quick as he gained the puck and shot it. Radulov tipped the puck, and it rang in off the post to beat Holtby, knotting the game at 2. As the Capitals received a power play, Washington’s star forward and captain Alexander Ovechkin set up in his normal spot on the left offensive circle and rocketed one home to record his 602th career goal. Not to be outdone, Stars captain Jamie Benn hustled to a free puck and flipped a shot over Holtby’s shoulder on a great single-handed effort to tie the game at 3.
The third period mirrored the first period. Chances, but not many goals, filled the period. Tensions rose as the hit count increased. Late in the period, Capitals defenseman John Carlson received the puck from down low and clapped a bullet at Lehtonen to find twine. The Stars fought to the end but couldn’t tie it.
A high-scoring second period swayed the momentum in Washington’s favor. The Stars battled through but didn’t regain the lead. Penalties filled the scoresheet, as Washington committed five, and Dallas committed four. Each team converted once on the power play. Dallas needs to step up its play if it doesn’t want to be golfing in April. Its next game is Friday night against the hot-streaking Boston Bruins at American Airlines Center.