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Capitals look to break through against Stars

Washington has lost eight straight to Dallas dating to 2008

by Steve Hunt / Correspondent

CAPITALS (40-9-4) at STARS (35-15-5)   

TV: 8 p.m. ET; CSN-DC, FS-SW, NHL.TV

DALLAS -- The Washington Capitals have lost eight consecutive games to the Dallas Stars, a fact Capitals coach Barry Trotz is so aware of that he can summon the date of Washington's last win against Dallas.

"October 25, 2008, yeah, we'll mention it [to the players]," Trotz said. "I think it's important. Anything that's been a roadblock, anything that's been something that people have told us you haven't done this or you haven't done that, that's something that we want to get out of the way and we want something else. It'll be part of what we talk about." 

Washington has won five straight games and is 2-0-0 on its current road trip after defeating the Minnesota Wild 4-3 on Thursday. 

Trotz is making one change to his forward lines from that victory. Right wing Stanislav Galiev, a healthy scratch over the past five games, will skate on the fourth line alongside left wing Brooks Laich and center Mike Richards.  

Trotz is leaving his defensive pairs intact. Goalie Braden Holtby was first off the ice at the morning skate and will start a fifth consecutive game. 

Dallas has won two consecutive games and the Stars are 16-8-5 at home, but defenseman Alex Goligoski isn't about to take the Capitals lightly, and that's not just because of forward Alex Ovechkin, who leads the NHL with 34 goals. 

"[I] think every guy on their team it seems like has 25, 30 points at least," Goligoski said. "So yeah, they have a lot of depth. It's not just shut down one guy or one line. For sure, we got to be focused every shift." 

Ruff is making one change to his forward lines from a 4-2 win at the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday. Rookie Radek Faksa, a healthy scratch against Chicago, will now center the fourth line alongside Vernon Fiddler on the left and Colton Sceviour on the right. 

Travis Moen, who played on the left side of that line in Chicago, sustained a lower-body injury against the Blackhawks and will miss the game with Washington. 

Ruff is also making two changes to his defensive pairs. The second pair will now consist of Johnny Oduya and Jason Demers, who have played together for most of the season. Demers missed the Chicago game because of illness but is ready to return. 

Patrik Nemeth, who skated alongside Oduya in the second pair against Chicago, returns to his customary spot on the third pair with Jordie Benn.  

Goalie Kari Lehtonen, who made 81 saves over the past two games, was first off the ice at the morning skate and will start a third consecutive game. 

"You get a lot of energy from big saves," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said of Lehtonen's play in the past two victories. "He had a couple saves where you've got every guy on the bench standing up, banging their sticks on the boards. I think it's the same as when somebody scores a big goal for you. When you get that big save, sometimes the energy from a big save is even better." 

Here are the projected lineups: 

Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie  
Andre Burakovsky - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Justin Williams  
Jason Chimera - Marcus Johansson - Tom Wilson  
Brooks Laich - Mike Richards - Stanislav Galiev 

Nate Schmidt - John Carlson  
Karl Alzner - Matt Niskanen  
Dmitry Orlov - Taylor Chorney  

Braden Holtby 
Philipp Grubauer  

Injured: Jay Beagle (upper body), Brooks Orpik (lower body) 
Scratched: Michael Latta  

Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Patrick Eaves  
Antoine Roussel - Cody Eakin - Patrick Sharp  
Valeri Nichushkin - Mattias Janmark - Ales Hemsky  
Vernon Fiddler - Radek Faksa - Colton Sceviour 

Alex Goligoski - John Klingberg  
Johnny Oduya - Jason Demers 
Patrik Nemeth - Jordie Benn 

Kari Lehtonen 
Antti Niemi  

Injured: Travis Moen (lower body), Jason Spezza (upper body) 
Scratched: Jyrki Jokipakka, Jamie Oleksiak  

Status report: Nemeth is skating in his fifth consecutive game. … Trotz said the ball is in Orpik's court as to when he returns from injury. Orpik (lower body) has missed the past 29 games. Trotz also said he will give Grubauer a start in the near future. Grubauer last started Feb. 2 against the Florida Panthers. 

Who's hot: Ovechkin has goals in three of his past five games against Dallas. … Jamie Benn is tied for second in the NHL with 62 points. … With his first-period hat trick against the Blackhawks, Eaves became the second player in franchise history and first since the Minnesota North Stars moved to Dallas in 1993 to score a first-period hat trick. … Klingberg has points in six of the past eight games. His 46 points is tied for second-most among NHL defensemen.

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