Washington Capitals at Dallas Stars
Saturday, October 5th @ 7:00 p.m.
TV: TXA 21
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/104.1 FM
While the Stars home opener against the Florida Panthers didn't go quite the way they had expected, Dallas looks to avoid an (0-2) start by wrapping up the opening weekend of the 2013-2014 NHL season against Washington Capitals. Leading 2-1 in the third period against Florida on Thursday, the Stars went on to give up two goals in a a span of 4:33, along with an empty-net goal to seal the win for the Panthers in regulation.
Alex Chiasson got the Stars on the board by scoring his 7th career goal in just 8 career NHL games. Since being called up from Texas (AHL) in April, the 23-year old currently has a career shooting percentage of 43.8% (7 goals on 16 shots). Defenseman Brenden Dillon, who finished fifth on the Stars in total ice time (20:19), scored a short-handed goal to give Dallas a 2-1 lead 7:32 into the final frame. Florida responded by scoring three unanswered goals from the 10:32 mark in the third period.
"We can't take anything for granted," Dillon said. "We were up 2-1 and then bang-bang, they’re back up 3-2 with four minutes to go. No lead is safe."
The Stars look to improve defensively after giving up more than 30 shots for a fourth consecutive game dating back to last season. Head coach Lindy Ruff specified the Stars need to win more one-on-one battles and play sound defense for an entire 60 minutes moving forward.
"We didn't win enough battles," said Ruff, We didn’t stop on pucks. I really feel we built our preseason over most of that, and we took some of those plays for granted.”
Ruff also commented on the lack of puck possession, and the importance of staying out of the penalty box against the leagues top ranked power play in the NHL a season ago.
“First and foremost, we have to stay out of the box. They’ve operated on a pretty high level on their power play,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “We’d like to do a better job with the puck. I thought there were times the last game we were good and there were times we got a little bit careless.”
Kari Lehtonen will start in Saturday nights tilt against the Capitals after stopping 35 of 38 shots against the Panthers.
Newly acquired forward Rich Peverley (irregular heartbeat) is expected to make his Dallas Stars debut after missing Thursday's opener. The 31-year old is expected to replace center Chris Mueller on the Stars fourth-line alongside wingers Antoine Roussel and Ryan Garbutt.
“It will be nice,” Peverley said. “I am part of a new organization and I haven’t been able to get in a game yet. It will be nice to get in a game, do the best I can and hopefully we can get a win.”
Stars center Cody Eakin, a 2009 Washington Capitals draft pick, will get his first chance to play his old team since being traded to Dallas in June 2012.
“I am excited,” Eakin said. “I am excited to play them. It’s obviously the first time and I think it will be fun.”
Defenseman Aaron Rome (hip) is inactive.
STARS PROJECTED LINEUP
Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Erik Cole
Ray Whitney - Cody Eakin - Alex Chiasson
Shawn Horcoff - Vernon Fiddler - Valeri Nichushkin
Antoine Roussel - Rich Peverley - Ryan Garbutt
Alex Goligoski - Sergei Gonchar
Brenden Dillon - Stephane Robidas
Trevor Daley - Jordie Benn
Dan Ellis (backup)
The Washington Capitals (1-1-0) head to Dallas for the first time since Dec. 2010 after overcoming a 3-0 deficit to defeat the Calgary Flames 5-4 in a shootout on Thursday.
"We've done it a lot before, come back like that," Washington forward Brooks Laich said. "We've got potent offensive guys that can do it, so the game is never over."
Starting goaltender Braden Holtby let up three goals on 11 shots in 16:22 of work before yielding the net to Michal Neuvirth. Neuvirth stopped 27 of the 28 shots he faced, earning the first win for the Capitals this season.
“It happens,” says Holtby of being pulled in the first period. “It’s probably the worst feeling in hockey but at that point in the game it’s the coach’s obligation to make changes to keep the game within reach. It obviously worked [Thursday]. That’s what happens; it’s the nature of the sport. If you don’t perform, you don’t play. It’s as simple as that.”
Capitals head coach Adam Oates confirmed that Holtby will get the nod in Dallas on Saturday.
“Everybody has hiccups. Everybody," said Oates. "And he's got to understand that's what it is.”
The reining Hart Memorial Trophy winner Alexander Ovechkin scored twice for the Capitals. With the power play appearing to be in mid-season form, the Caps scored two goals – including Nicklas Backstrom’s game-tying tally on the man-advantage. The Capitals killed off three straight Calgary power plays in a span of less than six minutes early in the third period, a juncture in the game at which they trailed 4-3.
Of the Stars that suited up for Washington’s last visit to Dallas nearly three years ago, only four remain: goaltender Kari Lehtonen (who didn’t play in that game), captain Jamie Benn and defensemen Trevor Daley and Stephane Robidas.
Defenseman Jack Hillen (leg) is inactive.
CAPITALS PROJECTED LINEUP
Marcus Johansson - Nicklas Backstrom - Alex Ovechkin
Brooks Laich - Mikhail Grabovski - Troy Brouwer
Jason Chimera - Eric Fehr - Joel Ward
Martin Erat - Jay Beagle - Tom Wilson
Karl Alzner - Mike Green
John Erskine - John Carlson
Urbom - Carrick
Michal Neuvirth (backup)
*Dallas and Washington were two of just three NHL teams to get through the 2013 preseason without suffering a regulation loss.
*This is the first of two meetings between the Stars and Capitals this season.
*The Stars are 42-27-18 all-time against the Capitals.
*The Capitals are 5-9 (55.6 percent) on the power play through their first two games.
*The Stars were 4-4 on the penalty kill in their season opener.
*The Capitals are 7-9 (77.8 percent) on the penalty kill through their first two games.
*The Stars were 0-3 on the power play and failed to register a shot on goal while having the man-advantage in their first game.
*Alex Ovechkin leads Washington in goals (3) and points (5) through two games.
*Brenden Dillon leads the Stars in points with 2 (1 goal, 1 assist).
*Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen is 11-6-2 in his career against Washington with a 2.76 goals against average and .920 save percentage.
*Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby has never faced the Dallas Stars in his career.