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Capitals @ Stars Recap: Stars Shut Out Caps 2-0

Jake Oettinger stops all 23 Washington shots and Washington’s defense struggles in the Stars’ shutout victory.

NHL: Washington Capitals at Dallas Stars Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the Lone Star State, Caps fans! The Washington Capitals and Dallas Stars match up tonight in the first of two meetings between these teams and Washington’s only visit to American Airlines Center this season. The Capitals are coming off an incredible second period performance in New Jersey on Monday night, and hopefully they can keep that momentum going. The Stars, however, have not lost at home yet this season.

Here’s how the Caps emerged for warmups tonight:

After an impactful performance in his season debut on Monday, Beck Malenstyn is in the lineup again tonight. Darcy Kuemper gets the starting nod in net for Washington, playing opposite Jake Oettinger. Oettinger has been incredible in net for Dallas so far this season, boasting a 4-1-0 record and .953 SV%. A fun fact, in an effort to distract you from that not-great news for the Caps: both of tonight’s goalies are 6’5”.

Here’s Thursday night’s Plus/Minus:

Plus: Washington’s penalty kill was only on the ice once tonight, but they were excellent when called upon. They stifled Dallas’ power play and actively generated their own offensive opportunities, getting a few high-danger shorthanded chances.

Minus: This was a particularly bad night at the faceoff dot for the Capitals. After only 40 minutes of play, the Caps had eight wins to to Dallas’ 25. The night finished with Washington winning just 32% of their faceoffs.

And now, The Giggles™

Nine more notes on the game:

1. The Capitals got the game’s first power play opportunity with 10:08 left in the first when Joel Hanley was called for holding Conor Sheary’s stick. The Caps had some solid chances on the man-advantage with good extended zone time, but they could not convert. John Carlson had the best opportunity, but the puck bounced on him and he couldn’t get the shot off.

2. Jason Robertson got the game’s first goal at 16:50 of the first period. The puck bounced up the slot to Nils Lundkvist, who somehow managed to fire it back on net with an absolute rocket of a shot. Robertson was in the right place at the right time and just got his stick on the puck to tip it in, changing the direction and throwing Kuemper for a loop. This goal had been brewing for a few minutes with some sustained pressure from the Stars, and a 1-0 Dallas lead felt inevitable.

3. About halfway through the second period, Dmitry Orlov laid a huge open-ice hit on Mason Marchment. Marchment immediately dropped to the ice and stayed down. On the replay, Orlov appeared to catch Marchment with an elbow to the chin. To the shock of most people at American Airlines Center, there was no penalty on the call.

Orlov usually times his hits incredibly well, but this was poorly judged. A hearing with NHL Player Safety would not be surprising.

4. Mason Marchment was (rightfully) frustrated with the no-call on Orlov’s hit, and he let it get the better of him a few minutes later with a roughing call on Garnet Hathaway. Unfortunately for the Caps, Hathaway took an offsetting slashing minor to set up some four-on-four hockey with 8:11 to go in the middle frame. Even though neither team scored, the open ice seemed to wake the Caps up a little. They returned to five-on-five with a bit more pep in their step and got better to close out the period. What did not get better? The ice. Still 1-0 Dallas after 40.

5. Martin Fehervary was called for hooking on Luke Glendening 3:03 into the third, giving Dallas their first power play of the night. The Capitals’ PK looked excellent this go around and they generated some great high-danger opportunities. Sheary went down hard into the boards on one of those shorthanded chances, so the Stars essentially had a brief period of five-on-three. Luckily, Kuemper was locked in and made an excellent stop to hold the Stars to one goal.

6. Roope Hintz took a seat for interference on T.J. Oshie just under halfway through the third to put the Capitals on the power play for the second time tonight. The Caps once again had some extended zone time, and there was a goal! Unfortunately, it was Joel Kiviranta scoring a shorthanded tally. He stripped the puck from John Carlson, who had been out on the ice for 90 seconds, on an attempted zone exit and turned the play around to score on Kuemper. 2-0 Dallas with 9:06 to go.

7. Conor Sheary went to the box for slashing Ty Dellandrea with four minutes left, but Nils Lundkvist was called for a holding penalty on Nick Jensen just 14 seconds in. It would have been more four-on-four hockey, but Laviolette pulled Darcy Kuemper for the extra attacker. Unfortunately, Jake Oettinger stood tall and kept the Caps off the board.

8. T.J. Oshie took a slashing penalty with 7.9 seconds to go, but it was inconsequential. Stars win 2-0 with another spectacular performance from Oettinger. The last time the Capitals were shut out was January 24, 2022 when the Golden Knights beat them 1-0.

9. This was not the Washington’s best defensive performance, folks. They made some glaring mistakes and got lazy with the puck, and it came back to bite them in the shutout loss.

Up next for the Caps: the next stop on this three-game southern road trip, a stop in Music City to face the Predators this Saturday at 8pm ET.