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Stars-Capitals Preview

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Washington Capitals at Dallas Stars

Saturday January 17, 2015
7:00 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

About the Stars

The Stars (19-17-7) are coming off a 2-1 loss to Winnipeg Thursday in which they outshot the Jets 47-22 and had a 97-37 advantage in shots directed towards the net.

“It was utter domination, but we didn’t finish,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “We had great opportunities. I don’t think you can play any better and have that many missed opportunities. You have to give [Jets goaltender Ondrej) Pavelec a lot of credit but, at the same time, our near misses should have been in the back of the net.”

The Stars have lost five of their last six games (1-3-2) and are five points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Defenseman Trevor Daley and forwards Brett Ritchie and Ales Hemsky did not practice Friday due to undisclosed injuries. Daley and Ritchie are doubtful, and Hemsky is questionable. C Vernon Fiddler, who has missed the past two games with a lower body injury, is expected to return Saturday.

Saturday’s game concludes a three-game homestand for the Stars.

Injuries: C Vernon Fiddler (lower body) is probable. RW Ales Hemsky (undisclosed) is questionable. D Trevor Daley (undisclosed) and RW Brett Ritchie (undisclosed) are doubtful. RW Patrick Eaves (ankle), RW Valeri Nichushkin (hip) and D Patrik Nemeth (arm) are out.

About the Capitals

The Capitals (24-12-8) are coming off a 4-3 loss at Nashville Friday night. The Predators scored two goals in the final five minutes to erase a 3-2 Washington lead and spoil the return of Caps coach Barry Trotz to Nashville, where he coached for 15 seasons.

“We know how much he wanted it, and we thought we did a good job up until about five minutes left,” said Washington forward Brooks Laich. “I feel sorry to let him down.”

The loss snapped a three-game winning streak and a nine-game points streak for the Capitals, who have just two regulation losses over their past 20 games (14-2-4).

Goaltender Braden Holtby made his 21st consecutive start Friday night. Earlier in the week, Trotz indicated that the streak would end this weekend and that backup Justin Peters would likely start Saturday in Dallas. Peters hasn’t started an NHL game since Nov. 29 but played two AHL games last weekend.

Saturdays’ game wraps up a two-game road trip for Washington.

Injuries: F Eric Fehr (lower body) is day to day. D John Erskine (neck), D Dmitry Orlov (wrist) and F Aaron Volpatti (upper body) are out.

Series Notes

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

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

*The Stars have won five straight games against the Capitals.

*The Stars are 44-27-18 all-time vs. Washington.

Statistical tidbits

*The Stars are 9-4-1 in their past 14 home games and 10-9-5 at home for the season.

*The Capitals are 7-2-3 in their past 12 road games.

*The Stars are 7-6-1 vs. the Eastern Conference.

*Washington is 6-6-2 vs. the Western Conference including 4-2-0 vs. the Central Division.

*Washington is 23-1-3 when it scores the first goal of the game.

*Washington is 1-11-5 when its opponent scores first.

*The Stars are 1-24 on the power play over the last five games.

*Stars defenseman Trevor Daley has three goals in his past four games and is tied for second in goal scoring among NHL defensemen with 11.

*Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin has ten goals in his past 13 games.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on 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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