The Dallas Stars played the kind of game they were hoping for Saturday night against the league-leading Washington Capitals, but it only added up to one point. The Stars let a 3-1 lead slip away in the third period and then fell, 4-3, in overtime at American Airlines Center.
"We emptied the tank," said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. "It's a disappointing loss."
Ruff had been pressing his team to raise its compete level and the Stars delivered Saturday night, building a 3-1 lead through the first two periods in a physical battle with the Capitals. But the Stars took back-to-back penalties early in the third and Washington scored on both against Dallas' struggling penalty kill to tie the game.
Then in overtime, the Stars lost the opening faceoff, and Evgeny Kuznetsov set up Jay Beagle, who scored from close range 19 seconds into the extra period to give Washington the two points.
"We kind of shot ourselves in the foot," said Stars forward Adam Cracknell. "I don't think it was just the penalties. We kind of got away from getting the pucks in deep, and it just trickles into that. It's nice to get a point, but right now one is just not enough for us."
Cracknell, Patrick Eaves, and Jamie Benn scored goals for the Stars, and Kari Lehtonen stopped 18 of 22 shots. The Stars lost for the fourth time in the past five games (1-3-1) and are 19-20-9 on the season. They fell to 2-9 in three-on-three overtime this season.
The Capitals (31-9-6) ran their points streak to 13 games (11-0-2) and snapped a nine-game losing streak to Dallas, defeating the Stars for the first time since Oct. 25, 2008.
"It's been a long time obviously until we've won here," Beagle said. "We made a little bit of a deal of that and said let's get a win. And we did."
Video: DAL Recap: Stars earn a point in 4-3 OT loss to Caps
The Capitals grabbed a 1-0 lead 2:13 into the game after the Stars were unable to clear the rebound of a Brett Connolly shot and Andre Burakovsky put the puck into the net .
The Stars went on a 1:23 five-on-three power play after the Capitals took back-to-back delay of game penalties, but the Stars couldn't generate much and failed to take advantage of the opportunity.
"We didn't get the job done on the five-on-three," Eaves said.
The Stars did tie the game at the 6:26 mark when Cracknell deflected a Jordie Benn shot from the right point into the net.
Later in the first, there were back-to-back fights. First, it was Stars forward Brett Ritchie and Washington's Tom Wilson. Then on the ensuing faceoff, it was Stars forward Antoine Roussel and Washington's Daniel Winnik.
"I thought we responded in the first period there with [Brett Richie] and [Antoine Roussel]; they did a great job," Cracknell said. "I thought we were hard on our one-on-one battles tonight. So, it's nice to see that response, but we're not happy with the outcome."
The Stars took a 2-1 lead at 6:47 of the second after Patrik Nemeth backhanded a puck on net and Eaves put the rebound into the net from close range. Lehtonen kept it a 2-1 game with a nice save on a quality bid from Wilson midway through the second.
The Stars went on their third power play at 14:01 of the second when Connolly boarded Jordie Benn, and Jamie Benn scored from close range with two seconds left on the man-advantage to extend the Dallas lead to 3-1. The Stars went on a four-minute power play late with 3:21 left in the period when Dmitry Orlov caught Jamie Benn with a high stick, but the Stars weren't able to take advantage and extend the lead.
"The [penalty] kill was really good all night," said Washington defenseman Matt Niskanen. "Later in the game, momentum changers, I think, at least kept the game within reach to give us a chance to tie it up. So good job by the killers."
Washington went on its first power play early in the third after Curtis McKenzie went to the penalty box for slashing, and Alex Ovechkin scored off a one-timer from the left circle to make it 3-2 at the 3:18 mark. Washington went on another power play 21 seconds later when Roussel was called for high sticking and scored again to make it a 3-3 game when T.J. Oshie tipped in a Niskanen point shot at 5:26 of the third.
The score stayed 3-3 until 19 seconds into the overtime, when Beagle scored to give Washington the second point and the Stars a tough loss to open their six-game homestand.
"The compete was great," said Ruff. "We played as hard as we could. Coming off the road trip and if you look at the energy we put into the game, it's hard."
Notes: Jamie Benn suffers broken nose
*Stars captain Jamie Benn suffered a broken nose Washington defenseman Dmitry Orlov caught him with a high stick. Orlov was given a double minor on the play.
*Stars coach Lindy Ruff said he wanted to have Radek Faksa take the opening faceoff in overtime, but Faksa wasn't on the bench.
"He left. I didn't know if he was coming back, but by the end, he'd showed up on the bench again. It's a lower body," Ruff said.
*The Stars outshot Washington 35-22 and had a 61-50 edge in shot attempts.
*Tyler Seguin led the Stars with 7 shots on goal and 10 shot attempts.
*The Stars were 1-7 on the power play and 0-2 on the penalty kill.
*The Stars won 31 of 63 faceoffs (49 percent). Faksa won 10 of 14 (71 percent) for Dallas.
*Patrick Eaves scored his 17th goal of the season, which now leads the team.
*Seguin recorded his 400th career point with an assist on Jamie Benn's power-play goal in the second period.
*John Klingberg led the Stars with 28:27 of ice time.
The Stars continue the homestand Tuesday when they take on the Minnesota Wild. The Stars are 1-2-0 against the Wild including 1-1-0 at American Airlines Center this season.
Jamie Benn - Cody Eakin - Patrick Eaves
Antoine Roussel - Tyler Seguin - Jason Spezza
Devin Shore - Radek Faksa - Patrick Sharp
Curtis McKenzie - Adam Cracknell - Brett Ritchie
Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Dan Hamhuis - Jordie Benn
Patrik Nemeth - Stephen Johns
Scratched: Jiri Hudler, Lauri Korpikoski, Julius Honka
Injured: Johnny Oduya (lower body), Jamie Oleksiak (hand), Ales Hemsky (hip), Mattias Janmark (knee)
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.