Dallas Stars: Three Keys To Defeating The Washington Capitals

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 20: Tyler Seguin #91 of the Dallas Stars takes a shot against John Carlson #74 of the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena on March 20, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 20: Tyler Seguin #91 of the Dallas Stars takes a shot against John Carlson #74 of the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena on March 20, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /
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The Dallas Stars continue their season-long road trip in America’s capitol tonight against the Washington Capitals. And though puck drop is just a few minutes away, here’s a quick blueprint as to how the Stars can secure two more points.

It’s almost time for puck drop in yet another Dallas Stars road game.

At 6 p.m. tonight, the Stars will kick off game four of a season-long six-game road trip when they take on the Washington Capitals. It’s yet another tough challenge against a quality opponent. But on this occasion, that quality opponent happens to be the defending 2018 Stanley Cup champions.

After having the Stars’ number for the first time in years and sweeping them during the 2017-18 regular season, the Caps drove through the Stanley Cup Playoffs and broke out on the other side with their first championship in franchise history.

Now, the early portion of the 2018-19 season hasn’t been incredibly gracious to the Caps. They are 5-4-2 on the year and sit in fifth place in the Metropolitan Division. To top it all off, they have yet to win two games in a row this season and are in search for consistency. After losing your head coach during the offseason, that’s only expected.

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Dallas will look to try and capitalize on that inconsistency tonight. The Stars are only 7-5-0 this season, but have won four of their past five games and own a two-game road win streak. They are gaining chemistry with each win and could potentially be picking up steam. But for that steam to build, a win is needed tonight.

Though the Capitals may be out to an average start, they own some of the best pure talent in the league (Alexander Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, T.J. Oshie, John Carlson, etc.) and cannot be overlooked.

As a result, here are three things that the Dallas Stars need to do in order to secure a win in the capitol tonight. It’s a short list because of how close we are to puck drop, but take it in and keep an eye out for these points in tonight’s game.

1. Dallas must stay out of the box

The Dallas Stars found themselves shorthanded on five different occasions Thursday night in Toronto. But their penalty kill came up big, limiting the Maple Leafs to only one power play goal as the Stars secured the 2-1 win.

If, however, the Stars find themselves shorthanded on numerous occasions tonight, they might not be so lucky. The Capitals currently own the best power play in the NHL with a 36.1 percent success rate. The next closest team? Winnipeg at 33.8 percent.

The Capitals have the power play depth with scorers like Ovechkin and Oshie and complement them with puck movers like Carlson. They own two lethal units that can make opposing PKs pay on a nightly basis.

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The Stars will have to play a controlled game and dictate the speed. If Washington gets control and begins setting it to their pace, Dallas could very well fall a step behind and begin committing unnecessary penalties. That has to be avoided at all costs tonight.

2. Dallas needs to get on the power play

Drawing penalties isn’t necessarily as much of an art in the NHL as it is in the NBA, but there’s still a certain vibe to it.

The Dallas Stars will need their speed and intensity on high tonight. If they can do that, the Capitals should eventually begin committing bad penalties.

And when that happens, the Stars can use the depth on their 11th-best power play to take it to the Capitals’ 24th-best penalty killing unit. The Stars tend to fare well against the Capitals on special teams, meaning tonight needs to follow suit.

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  • 3. Continue trusting the process

    Jim Montgomery might not have the Dallas Stars out to a spectacular start, but he definitely has them in the fight. On top of that, he seems to be pushing them in the right direction with each passing game.

    Tonight, the Stars will once again roll with the lineup that helped them beat a stingy Toronto team on Thursday night. That lineup can be found below.

    Devin ShoreTyler SeguinMattias Janmark

    Jamie BennJason SpezzaValeri Nichushkin

    Blake ComeauRadek FaksaTyler Pitlick

    Gemel SmithJason DickinsonBrett Ritchie

    Esa LindellJohn Klingberg

    Miro HeiskanenRoman Polak

    Dillon HeatheringtonJulius Honka

    After digging their heels in and simply cashing in at the right times against the Leafs, the Stars found a way to escape with two points. They may be missing some starters from the lineup and it may be an odd combination of lines, but Montgomery is finding ways to make them work and be successful.

    Next. Looking Ahead At The Stars' November 2018 Schedule. dark

    All the Stars need to do tonight is keep that pressure on and keep trusting the process.

    The Dallas Stars and Washington Capitals are minutes away from dropping the puck in the nation’s capitol. Make sure to tune in as Dallas takes a swing at three road wins in a row.