Capitals 4, Stars 3
Scoresheet – Wash Post – Dallas MN
Caps made this one interesting after taking a commanding 4-1 lead into the late third period. But the Caps hold out and make Jeff Halpern’s return to the phone booth a tough one for the tired Dallas Stars.
Brooks Laich had the assist of the night fighting through 4 Dallas defenders to shovel the puck in the slot to a breaking Richard Zednik who buried the puck. The Caps used their speed and hard work to take advantage of an exhausted Stars squad that arrived in DC late. The Caps were able to draw a few penalties and capitalized. The Caps’ power play was 2 for 5 and was perfect on the penalty kill.
There was a scary moment in the third period when Jamie Heward took a skate to the face behind the Caps net. The shock may have given the Stars some help getting back into the game. The Caps nearly let the 4-1 lead get away from them when Stu Barnes scored, then the Stars’ coach Dave Tippett pulled Marty Turco (who replaced starter Mike Smith) and they climbed back to within one with two minutes and three seconds left in the game.
But the Caps held on, barely, and started their 4 game homestand on a good foot. Scoring for the Capitals were Zednik, Chris Clark, Matt Pettinger and Alex Semin. Alex Ovechkin had a penalty shot after starting goaltender Smith threw his stick after Ovie shook the defense free for a breakaway. Ovechkin was unable to score on the shot, losing control of the puck and never getting his shot on net.
Overall Grade: B
The Capitals still need to find that finishing touch on games they take control of early. The Caps were merely able to outscore Dallas in this one. They were able to build off their Tampa win. They will need that scoring confidence when they face their next opponents; Buffalo (insert scary music here!).
Caps face off with the dreaded Sabres on Saturday. Hanlon’s bunch has to be able to match Buffalo’s scoring touch but at the same time contain the speedy Sabres. It’s asking a lot, I know, but the Caps are finding scoring outside of their top line. That is a good sign.