The Capitals had their eight-game point streak snapped with a 3-2 loss at home against the Stars on Sunday in a game that didn't feature three Capitals regulars.
Washington fell behind 2-0 early and then 3-1, but couldn't rally in time to tie the game once again. And, in a more serious tone, the roster of the Capitals sits in flux with the trade deadline less than 24 hours away.
With the loss, the Capitals are now 35-19-10 on the season.
Here are a few takeaways from the night:
An early deficit proves too much
After playing one of their best games of the season against the Hurricanes on Friday, the Capitals allowed the Stars to jump on them early in Sunday evening’s game.
Washington allowed a goal in the first three minutes and then one toward the end of the period as the two-goal hole was too much to overcome. The Capitals cut the lead in half with a goal in the second period, but despite a Dmitry Orlov third period tally, they couldn't tie the game and earn a point.
Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin continues to make history.
With a power play goal in the second period he scored his 40th goal of the season, he tied Wayne Gretzky for the most 40-goal seasons in NHL history (12). It’s been a few weeks of milestones for Ovechkin, and Sunday against the Stars was no different.
Holtby returns, doesn’t dress
Former Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby was back in Capital One Arena, but this time as an opponent, for the first time since he left the team after the 2019-20 season.
At the first commercial break of the evening, the Capitals showed a video tribute for their former Stanley Cup winning netminder that brought fans in attendance to their feet. The video tribute clearly touched Holtby, as did the “Holt-by!” chants that came from the crowd well after play resumed.
For all Holtby accomplished in D.C., he won’t ever be forgotten in this city.
Capitals lineup shuffle continues
The Capitals’ injury woes, at least for the time being, appear to be back.
T.J. Oshie, Nic Dowd and Trevor van Riemsdyk were all absent from the lineup on Sunday after sustaining injuries in the last two games. The team placed van Riemsdyk on IR ahead of the team’s game — he is eligible to return to the lineup on March 26. Both Oshie and Dowd are day-to-day with lower and upper-body injuries, respectively.
Center Lars Eller returned from a stint on the COVID-19 list and took his spot back at third-line center.
For a team that’s played, Sunday aside, some of its best hockey in recent weeks, the evening felt a bit like a precursor to something more.
The NHL’s trade deadline is set for Monday at 3 p.m., and the Capitals figure to be buyers of some sort — whether that’s a minor move for a depth forward or for a top six winger or clear No. 1 goaltender. There might not be a big time move made in Washington, but general manager Brian MacLellan indicated a few spots he’d like to bolster the roster earlier in March.
Now, for a bit less than 24 hours, the hockey world will wait.