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Capitals winning despite facing opponent’s best

There are only two games tonight in the NHL, and one pits the best team in the league against a team that is struggling since the Olympic break. The Dallas Stars are mired in mediocrity since the Olympic break, and many (including myself) believed tonight’s game between Dallas and the Washington Capitals would be laugher by the 25-minute mark. After all, this was team that’s allowed 17 goals in three games going up against the most potent and dangerous offensive team in the NHL. At the Verizon Center.

So far, midway through the second period, that hasn’t been the case. In fact, it’s been a fairly close game. The Stars have hung in there despite allowing a goal within the first few minutes, as Marty Turco has played brilliantly as he’s been peppered by 29 shots already in the game.

But it hasn’t just been Turco. The Stars have done their best to counterpunch and it’s been an interesting thing to watch; the Stars have been able to do their best to elevate their level of play against the NHL’s best team.

There’s no doubt that the Capitals are a better team, but this is also the best the Stars have played since before the break. This is what the Capitals are up against every single night: every team wants to play their best and get pumped up when taking on the Capitals. That Washington continues to win like they do and be so dominant while doing so is even more impressive.

The Stars have stayed in the game with great goaltending and believe it or not a decent job on defense. And yet they’ve still allowed a high number of shots and chances. But at this point, one good play by the Stars in the other direction and this is a new game.

[Update] I jinxed the Stars. Alex Ovechkin scores on a 5-on-3 to put the Capitals ahead 2-0, just minutes after I posted this.