The Dallas Stars look to right the ship against the Washington Capitals tonight

After taking back-to-back losses in the sunshine state, the Stars return to the ice tonight in the nation's capitol. They will be taking on the Washington Capitals before returning home to Dallas. With a win tonight, the Stars can keep their playoff spot for now as the race for the Central Division heats up.

Dallas Stars v Washington Capitals
Dallas Stars v Washington Capitals / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages
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The Dallas Stars return to the ice tonight after a frustrating loss to the Florida Panthers. They will be taking on Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals. The rest of the Central Division is starting to get warm as teams below the Stars in the standings are on winning streaks.

A loss tonight could have the Stars outside of the playoff race depending on what happens on Saturday. This is why tonight's game is so crucial for the Stars. You don't want the other teams to pass you in the standings. Here are the three keys of the game tonight against the Capitals.

Dallas Stars vs. Washington Capitals Preview: 3. Attack early and often

The Stars sort of did this last night against the Florida Panthers. It's just that they couldn't convert on any of their shot attempts. The Capitals are not going to wait for the Stars to get comfy at Capital One Arena tonight. The Stars' defense was nowhere to be found on the ice last night. That is why the Stars need to get out to a quick lead to prepare for the Capitals' offense. If the Stars can get out to the early lead tonight against the Capitals, I like our odds of winning tonight's matchup.

Dallas Stars vs. Washington Capitals Preview: 2. Shut down Tom Wilson and Dylan Strome

The Stars have two players that they need to shut down tonight to win tonight's game. Tom Wilson and Dylan Strome lead the Capitals in goals with eight each. It will be interesting to see if the Stars can shut down both players tonight. Miro Heiskanen did not have the best game last night and that might be because of his line partner. He might need a Red Bull before tonight's game because we need him at his absolute best to win tonight.

Dallas Stars vs. Washington Capitals Preview: 1. Help out Scott Wedgewood

More than likely we will see Scott Wedgewood between the pipes for the Stars tonight since Jake Oettinger played last night. That doesn't mean that they can take the night off on defense. The Stars need to help out Wedgewood with defense in the Stars' zone. Wedgewood is a good backup goalie but he can't be the main source of defense for the team tonight. If the Stars can help out Wedgewood with defense and build an early lead, the Stars should come home with at least two points on this road trip.