The Caps may not have beaten the Stars in regulation—Jakub Vrana wasn’t born the last time they did that in Dallas—but they hung around, got to overtime, and managed to pick up another victory.
Here's Tuesday night's Plus/Minus:
- Plus: The Caps’ third line, which tallied Washington’s first (Andre Burakovsky), third (Brett Connolly), and fourth (Burakovsky) goals of the game.
- Minus: The Evgeny Kuznetsov line, which spent a lot of time in its own end.
And now, this...
One of the goals of the season.
Ten more notes on the game:
- Dallas and Washington got off to a cautious starts in terms of taking risks with the puck. Without the puck, though, Jakub Vrana (!) got into a scuffle with Antoine Roussel, as did Tom Wilson later on.
- On the injury front, the Caps got TJ Oshie back in the lineup in this game. He wasn’t quite up to speed—expected after an absence. He also got hit in the leg with a shot late in the third, after which the referees halted play—but he stayed in the game and took a couple of more shifts.
- The other recent returnee, Andre Burakovsky, on the other hand, had a strong game. He got the Caps on the board midway through the first on a 3-on-2. Brett Connolly helped get the puck out of the defensive zone and carried it up the ice. He found Burakovsky on the far side alone, and Burakovsky wristed a shot past Ben Bishop.
- Roussel’s altercation with Wilson resulted in an extra minor for Wilson and a power play for Dallas—on which Jamie Benn scored. He was cruising through the high slot when John Klingberg shot the puck, and deflected it past Braden Holtby.
- Late in the game was filled with penalties through forty minutes—six power plays plus three more pairs of matching minors. In terms of “game management,” that might have helped keep the intensity under control. There was only one penalty called over the third and overtime (though the referees also declined to call some penalties late in the game that they likely would have earlier). That Benn goal was also the only power play goal scored.
- The Stars generally had good body position and gap control on the Caps, keeping the Caps from passing into and through the slot easily. Dallas also did a good job forcing turnovers around the bluelines and on the forecheck. Those factors help them post a dominant second period and take the lead, as the Stars’ forecheck stopped the Caps from exiting the defensive zone and Gemel Smith eventually scored on the rebound of his own shot.
- Dmitry Orlov tied the game later in the second with one of the best goals of the season. He carried the puck up the right wing, feinted a drop-pass to Alex Ovechkin following him on the rush, got around Klingberg by tucking the puck through his legs—similar to a favorite Ovechkin move—and roofed a shot past Ben Bishop.
- Alexander Radulov scored late in the third to give the Stars a 3-2 lead. Again, the Stars’ good positioning forced a turnover in the neutral zone. Radulov intercepted a pass, caught Orlov and Matt Niskanen a little deep, and scored past Braden Holtby
- Brett Connolly tied the game forty seconds later, one-timing a pass from Burakovsky.
- Burakovsky ended things in overtime, taking advantage of the open space to hit a top corner.
The Caps didn’t look great in this one, but their better players (though not the best) came though. The Caps’ depth issues won’t look as bad if they can rely on strong performances from their top nine forwards every game. That’s still a work in progress, but with Burakovsky and Oshie back in the lineup, it’s getting better.