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Stars-Capitals Preview

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Saturday, February 13

7:00 p.m.

TV: Fox Sports Southwest

Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

The Stars (35-15-5) won 4-2 at Chicago Thursday. The Stars jumped out to a 4-0 first-period lead behind three goals from Patrick Eaves. Kari Lehtonen stopped 44 shots, including 19 in the third period for the Stars, who bounced back from a 5-1 loss to Chicago last Saturday and pulled to within one point of the Central Division-leading Blackhawks with three games in hand.

“Especially after losing to them badly a few days ago, it was a huge comeback game for everybody,” said Lehtonen. “We can definitely enjoy this tonight. We’ve got another tough one (Washington) coming on Saturday.”

The game wrapped up a stretch that saw the Stars go 4-1-0 against Central Division teams. The Stars are 5-1-0 in their past six games and 6-2-0 in their past eight.

Stars defenseman Jason Demers, who missed Thursday’s game due to illness, should be available to play Saturday, according to Stars coach Lindy Ruff.

Forward Travis Moen, who left Thursday’s game with a lower-body injury, will miss some time, Ruff said.

The Stars play Saturday at home and then head back out for a three-game road trip starting Monday in Nashville.

Injuries: D Jason Demers (illness) is probable. LW Travis Moen (lower body) and C Jason Spezza (upper body) are out.

The Capitals (40-9-4) won their fifth straight game, defeating the Minnesota Wild, 4-3, in St. Paul Thursday night. Alex Ovechkin scored three goals – all of them in the second period – for Washington, which became the first team in the league to hit 40 wins.

“My parents actually called me [probably a couple weeks ago] and said, 'It's time for you to get a hat trick,” Ovechkin told “It's a good feeling. Obviously, when you get the second one it's pretty cool, but when you have three goals in one game, it's kind of special.”

The three goals gave Ovechkin 34 for the season and pushed him past Chicago’s Patrick Kane for most in the league.

Braden Holtby stopped 33 shots for his fifth straight win for Washington, which leads the NHL with 84 points.

Forward Evgeny Kuznetsov left Thursday’s game after taking a stick to the face. The Capitals said Friday that Kuznetsov is expected to play Saturday.

Saturday’s game wraps up a three-game road trip for the Capitals.

Injuries: D Brooks Orpik (lower body) is questionable. RW Jay Beagle (hand) is out.

*This is the second and final meeting between the Stars and Capitals this season.

*The Stars won the first meeting, 3-2, in Washington on November 19.

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

*Washington’s last win against the Stars was Oct. 25, 2008 in Dallas.

*The Stars are 15-7-1 vs. the Eastern Conference, including 8-3-1 against the Metropolitan Division.

*The Capitals are 10-2-2 vs. the Western Conference, including 5-1-1 vs. the Central Division.

*The Stars are 2-3-0 in their past five games at home but 14-5-0 over the past 19 at American Airlines Center.

*The Capitals have won four straight on the road and are 7-1-0 in their past eight games away from home.

*The Stars are 13-4-5 in one-goal games and rank sixth in the league with a .591 winning percentage in those games.

*The Capitals are 17-2-4 in one-goal games, leading the league with a .739 winning percentage.

*The Stars are 5-17 (29.4 percent) on the power play over the past five games.

*The Capitals are 4-15 (26.7 percent) on the power play over the past five games.

*The Stars are 13-16 (81.3 percent) on the penalty kill over the past five games.

*The Capitals are 12-17 (70.6 percent) on the penalty kill over the past five games.

*Stars forwards Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin are tied for third in the NHL in goals (28).

*Benn ranks second in points (62) and Seguin ranks fourth in points (60).

*Washington’s Alex Ovechkin leads the NHL in goals (34).

*Washington’s Evgeny Kuznetsov ranks fifth in the league in points (54).

*Washington goaltender Braden Holtby is 27-1-3 since Nov. 12.

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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