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Preview: Stars at Capitals

Washington going for 16th straight home win; Kari Lehtonen in net for Dallas

by Katie Brown / Correspondent

STARS (26-29-10) at CAPITALS (44-13-7)

7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CSN-DC, NHL.TV


Stars team scope

Goaltender Kari Lehtonen will start for the Dallas Stars, who are seven points out of the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference with 62 points. The Stars have won four of their past six games after losing seven of their previous eight. They are 8-18-4 on the road and 1-6-0 in their past seven games on the road. "We're in a position [where] we need to win every game almost and you've got to approach it that way," coach Lindy Ruff said. "Tonight's as big a game as it comes. We gave a game away at home against the Islanders [5-4 loss Thursday], but we won a hard-fought one in Florida [2-1 Saturday] and now to stay within reach we have to win tonight." The Stars have points in 11 consecutive games against the Washington Capitals (9-0-2) dating to Nov. 30, 2006, and have won their past five games at Verizon Center.


Capitals team scope

The Capitals won their 15th consecutive home game, 2-1 against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday, and are the first team to have a home winning streak of 15 or more games since the Detroit Red Wings, who won 23 consecutive home games in 2011-12. The Capitals lead the Metropolitan Division and Eastern Conference with 95 points and are 27-5-1 at home this season. "Obviously pulling out wins any time is good," goalie Braden Holtby said. "I think we'd like to try and force them to play a little bit of our game sometimes instead of that, but we played the game we needed to win [Saturday]. There's still areas in every game that we can improve upon and tonight's another opportunity to work on those things and try to get another win." Holtby will make his 50th start of the season. He is 13-0-1 with two shutouts in his past 14 starts and leads the NHL in goals-against average (1.89) and shutouts (eight), and is tied for second with 34 wins. He is the only NHL goaltender this season to rank in the top two in wins, shutouts, GAA and save percentage (.931).


Stars projected lineup

Jamie Benn -- Jason Spezza -- Tyler Seguin

Curtis McKenzie -- Radek Faksa -- Patrick Sharp

Remi Elie -- Cody Eakin -- Brett Ritchie

Adam Cracknell -- Devin Shore -- Ales Hemsky

Esa Lindell -- John Klingberg

Dan Hamhuis -- Stephen Johns

Patrik Nemeth -- Jamie Oleksiak

Kari Lehtonen

Antti Niemi

Scratched: Greg Pateryn, Jiri Hudler

Injured: Antoine Roussel (hand)


Capitals projected lineup

Alex Ovechkin -- Nicklas Backstrom -- T.J. Oshie

Marcus Johansson -- Evgeny Kuznetsov -- Justin Williams

Brett Connolly -- Lars Eller -- Jakub Vrana

Daniel Winnik -- Jay Beagle -- Tom Wilson

Karl Alzner -- John Carlson

Dmitry Orlov -- Matt Niskanen

Brooks Orpik -- Kevin Shattenkirk

Braden Holtby

Philipp Grubauer

Scratched: Nate Schmidt, Taylor Chorney, Paul Carey

Injured: Andre Burakovsky (hand)


Status report

Burakovsky "probably" will travel with the Capitals during their three-game California road trip, coach Barry Trotz said Monday, and will participate in practices and morning skates with no contact initially. Burakovsky is eligible to be taken off long-term injured reserve March 9.


Who's hot

Benn has 16 points (eight goals, eight assists) in his past 11 games. Seguin has 14 points (two goals, 12 assists) in nine games. Klingberg has seven points (three goals, four assists) during a five-game point streak. … Backstrom has 18 points (seven goals, 11 assists) in his past 15 games. Kuznetsov has 16 points (eight goals, eight assists) in his past 16 games. Johansson has 11 points (six goals, five assists) in his past 12 games.

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