Dallas Hits the District
Monday, 03.08.2010 / 7:00 PM
Mike Vogel - WashingtonCaps.com Senior WriterMarch 8 vs. Dallas Stars at Verizon Center
820AM, 1500AM, 106.7 FM and XM
Pre-Cap Podcast at 2 p.m. and Two-Man Advantage Pre-Game show at 6:30 p.m., both on www.washingtoncaps.com
Dallas Stars (28-24-12)
Washington Capitals (44-13-8)
After winning three straight games in a span of four nights immediately after the NHL’s Olympic break, the Washington Capitals took Sunday off. On Monday night they’ll be back in action, hosting the Dallas Stars at Verizon Center. The game is the middle match of a five-game homestand.
Caps goaltender Jose Theodore blanked the New York Rangers 2-0 on Saturday night at Verizon Center in the most recent of those three straight wins. Theodore has stopped 53 of 54 shots in his two starts since the Olympic break and is now 12-0-2 in his last 14 appearances. He has fashioned a 2.38 GAA and a .929 save pct. in those 14 contests. Theodore is 22-7-6 overall this season.
Saturday’s win over New York was the Capitals’ 13th straight on home ice. With one more win to tack onto that streak, the Caps can match the longest home winning streak in the league since 1975-76. The 2008-09 Boston Bruins reeled off 14 straight victories at home.
The Caps’ AHL farm affiliate, the Hershey Bears, won their 23rd straight home game on Sunday afternoon, a 4-2 win over the Adirondack Phantoms. The Bears’ streak is believed to be the longest of its kind in professional hockey history, one more than a 22-game home winning streak authored by the 1965-66 Muskegon Mohawks of the International Hockey League.
Although star left wing Alex Ovechkin
has not scored a goal in the Capitals’ last half dozen games, Washington is 3-1-2 in those contests. The Caps have scored 23 goals in their last six games and have scored 24 goals since last getting one from Ovechkin.
Early last season, Ovechkin went through a nine-game drought without a goal. He also missed two games during that span to be with his ill grandfather, so Washington went 11 games without getting a goal from Ovechkin. The Caps scored 30 goals in those 11 games, and went 6-3-2 in the standings. The Capitals scored 33 goals between Ovechkin goals during that dry spell.
In the longer term this season, the Caps are 20-2-2 in 24 games since Ovechkin took over as the team’s captain on Jan. 5. Ovechkin has totaled 40 points (16 goals, 24 assists) in two dozen games since the captain’s “C” was sewn on his sweater.
The 2-0 win over the Blueshirts marked the first time since Jan. 2 that the Caps had been held to fewer than three goals in a game.
Washington scored at least three goals for 23 straight games prior to Saturday. The longest previous streak of that kind during Bruce Boudreau’s tenure as head coach was nine straight games last season. That streak of nine straight games with three or more goals last season was the longest by a Caps team since the 1993-94 outfit strung together nine in a row.
The all-time franchise mark for most consecutive games with three or more goals scored is 25, established in 1984-85.
Washington is 8-4-2 against Western Conference opponents this season with Dallas, Chicago, Calgary and Columbus still ahead on the schedule.
Dallas has been engaged in 30 one-goal games this season, and it has lost only four of those contests in regulation (14-4-12). The Stars would be in playoff position if they resided in the Eastern Conference but alas, their total of 68 points has them in 11th place in the Western Conference and six points off the pace for the eighth and final postseason berth.
The Stars were on a 6-2-1 roll prior to the Olympic break, but they’ve dropped three straight since the break ended. Most recently, they suffered a 6-3 setback at the hands of the Penguins in Pittsburgh on Saturday afternoon.
In each of their last three losses, Dallas has surrendered five or more goals. Newly acquired goaltender Kari Lehtonen got his first start as a Star against Pittsburgh, and he allowed six goals on 34 shots on goal.
Monday’s visit to Verizon Center marks Dallas’ first trip to the District in more than three years. The Caps downed Dallas 4-3 on Nov. 30, 2006 the last time the Stars came to town.