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At the Rink: Stars at Capitals

by Katie Brown

WASHINGTON -- The Dallas Stars boast the NHL's best road record so far this season and are confident they can continue that success Thursday against the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center while trying to become the latest opponent to deny Alex Ovechkin a personal record.

Ovechkin has been held scoreless for four games dating back to Nov. 7, when he tied Sergei Fedorov's record of 483 goals, the most by a Russian-born player.

"We have to make sure that there's a second wave of defense for him," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "It isn't just solely one-on-one all the time. He's going to make some great plays, great individual plays. We need that added help, because physically he can dominate."

The Stars have won eight of their past nine road games and have a four-game winning streak on the road. They have won 16 of 19 road games dating back to last season.

"I think our ability to just stick to the plan, whatever's going on in games," defenseman Alex Goligoski said of the Stars consistency on the road. "We've been up in a lot of games and the ones we haven't been, we haven’t deviated too much from our plan. We just try and go out and do the same thing, every day, every shift, and I think that's a strength of ours."

The Stars' NHL-best 36 percent power play on the road is another factor in their success, with Dallas having scored on nine of 25 attempts in road games.

"We've got some balanced scoring; our power play's been something that's helped us win a few games on the road," Ruff said. "Goaltending has been good too, at the same time."

Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik, who has missed three games with a lower-body injury, attended the morning skate Wednesday but did not play against the Detroit Red Wings and won't play against Dallas. 

Goalie Philipp Grubauer will start for Washington, since regular starter Braden Holtby played Wednesday in Detroit.

Goalie Kari Lehtonen is expected to start for the Stars.

Here are the projected lineups:


Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Patrick Sharp

Antoine Roussel - Cody Eakin - Valeri Nichushkin

Mattias Janmark - Jason Spezza - Patrick Eaves

Colton Sceviour - Vernon Fiddler - Ales Hemsky

Alex Goligoski - John Klingberg

Johnny Oduya - Jason Demers

Jyrki Jokipakka - Jordie Benn

Kari Lehtonen

Antti Niemi

Injured: None

Scratched: Jamie Oleksiak, Travis Moen


Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie

Marcus Johansson - Nicklas Backstrom - Andre Burakovsky

Jason Chimera - Jay Beagle - Justin Williams

Brooks Laich- Michael Latta - Tom Wilson

Nate Schmidt - John Carlson

Matt Niskanen - Karl Alzner

Dmitry Orlov - Taylor Chorney

Philipp Grubauer

Braden Holtby

Injured: Brooks Orpik (lower body)

Scratched: Stanislav Galiev

Status report: The Stars activated Moen from injured reserve on Tuesday.

Who's hot: Jamie Benn leads the NHL with six power-play goals and has five points in his past three games. … Niskanen has four points in his past three games.

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