Tue, 24 May 2022

Stars try to bring momentum home vs. Capitals

Field Level Media
28 Jan 2022, 07:55 GMT+10

On the heels of a perfect road trip, the Dallas Stars look to continue their winning ways on home ice when they host the Washington Capitals on Friday.

The Stars had struggled on the road for much of the season, yet Tuesday's 5-1 win over the New Jersey Devils gave Dallas a spotless 4-0-0 recordduring a four-game trek against Eastern Conference opponents.

A victory over Washington would give the Stars five straight wins overall, and six wins in their past seven home games. Friday's contest begins a six-game homestand for the Stars, whose 14-4-1 mark in Dallas is one of the NHL's best home records.

Joe Pavelski was again the story on Tuesday, recording two goals and two assists against New Jersey to extend his points streak to six games. Now in his 13th NHL season, the 37-year-old Pavelski has looked in prime form, with 48 points (19 goals and 29 assists) over 40 games.

"Like I keep telling people, this is not a fluke," Stars coach Rick Bowness said about Pavelski's play. "He works at it. ... He's a true pro, a great character, and a great teammate. I guess it's the consistency, at this age, at this level that he plays at is the most impressive thing for me."

Pavelski and linemates Jason Robertson (39) and Roope Hintz (36) are the Stars' top three point-scorers this season. The trio has been particularly dangerous over Dallas' past 15 games, combining for 64 points (26 goals, 38 assists).

While the Stars' top line is on fire, the Capitals collectively are having much more trouble putting the puck into the net. After Wednesday's 4-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks, Washington has been outscored 37-24 during 11 games in January.

With the loss to the Sharks and Monday's 1-0 shutout loss to the Vegas Golden Knights, the Capitals have lost consecutive games in regulation for the first time all season.

"I feel like it's mostly puck luck. I think we're generating 10-plus good scoring chances every game, and right now it feels like they're just not going in," Capitals forward Lars Eller said. "For whatever reason, we have to work really hard for our goals right now."

This lack of offense has led to a 3-6-2 record in January, and the loss to San Jose followed a familiar script. The Capitals outshot (33-30) their opponents, yet were hampered by a lack of timely scoring and a faulty power play, going 0-for-3 with the extra attacker.

Washington is 0-for-16 on power-play chances in its past five games. However, the Stars' penalty-kill unit has also been struggling, allowing opponents to score at least one power-play goal in 13 of their past 15 games.

The Capitals' Ilya Samsonov stopped 26 of 29 shots against San Jose, though Vitek Vanecek has gotten the bulk of starting duties recently and could be back in net against Dallas.

Dallas goaltender Braden Holtby is likely to face the Capitals, his former team, after starting three of the four games on the Stars' road trip.

Capitals forward T.J. Oshie has missed six games with an upper-body injury and is questionable for Friday's game.

Radek Faksa (non-COVID illness) and John Klingberg (upper-body injury) each missed the Stars' last game and are questionable for Friday. Luke Glendening is expected to play after leaving Tuesday's game due to an undisclosed injury.

--Field Level Media

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