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Stars-Capitals Preview

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

Washington Capitals at Dallas Stars
Saturday, January 21
7:00 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

About the Stars

The Stars (19-20-8) lost 3-0 to the New York Islanders in Brooklyn Thursday. Kari Lehtonen stopped 33 of 35 shots but the Stars, who spent almost 13 minutes of the game killing penalties, couldn't generate any offense against the Islanders and goaltender Thomas Greiss.

"I didn't think our puck battle and puck desperation was good enough," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "When you don't have the puck, you don't draw enough penalties, and we took way too many penalties including a couple careless ones. That took too many of our players out of the game."

The Stars lost for the third time in their past four games and fell to 3-6-1 in their past ten.

The Stars recalled defenseman Julius Honka from the Texas Stars (AHL) Friday and placed defenseman Johnny Oduya (lower body) on injured reserve.

The Stars, who went 1-2-0 on a three-game road trip, play their next six games at home.

Injuries: D Johnny Oduya (lower body), Jamie Oleksiak (hand), C/LW Mattias Janmark (knee) and RW Ales Hemsky (hip) are on injured reserve.

About the Capitals

The Capitals (30-9-6) ran their points streak to 12 games (10-0-2) with a 7-3 win at St. Louis Thursday. Washington jumped out to a 2-0 lead after one period and then blew the game open with four goals in 9:43 during the second period, including two in an eleven-second span. Seven different players scored goals for the Capitals who have scored seven goals in consecutive games.

"It's obviously fun," Washington forward Marcus Johansson said. "I think we're letting up a few many more than we want to, but it's always fun to score, see a lot of different guys score too. It's good for the team, good for the confidence."

The Capitals have scored five goals or more in five straight games.

Washington's 66 points and .733 points percentage are both tops in the NHL.

The Capitals wrap up a three-game road trip Saturday.

Injuries: D John Carlson (lower body) is day-to-day.

Season Series

*This is the first of two meetings between the Stars and Capitals.

*The Stars were 2-0-0 vs. Washington last season.

*The Stars have won nine straight games against Washington.

*The last time the Capitals defeated the Stars was Oct. 25, 2008.  

Statistical Tidbits

*The Stars are 12-7-4 at home.

*The Capitals are 12-4-5 on the road.

*The Stars are 3-8-3 vs. the Eastern Conference including 2-5-2 against the Metropolitan Division.

*The Capitals are 10-2-0 vs. the Western Conference including 7-0-0 against the Central Division.

*Washington ranks fifth in the NHL in goal scoring (3.20 per game) and first in goals against (2.07).

*The Capitals have scored five goals or more in five straight games and eight of their past eleven.

*The Stars have scored four or more goals in four of their past seven games but have allowed four or more in six of their past nine.  

*The Capitals lead the NHL in 5-on-5 save percentage at .941.

*The Stars rank 8th in 5-on-5 save percentage at .929.

*The Capitals are 25-3-4 when scoring first, the second best record in the league.

*The Stars are 4-14-5 when the opposition scores first, the 30th-ranked record in the league.

*Patrick Eaves and Tyler Seguin co-lead the Stars with 16 goals each.

*Alexander Ovechkin leads the Capitals with 21 goals. 

This story was not subject to approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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