The Capitals look to snap their first losing streak in a month when they play the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Arena on Friday (8 p.m., NBC Sports Washington).
Washington (24-12-3) remains in first place in the Metropolitan Division, but has lost two in a row to Nashville and St. Louis. The Capitals have not had a three-game losing streak in regulation since March, 2017. That streak reached four games and began with a loss to the Stars (21-16-4), who are in third place in the Central Division.
Dallas has long been a nightmare place to play for the Capitals, where they lost seven of eight games on the road against the Stars from 2002 to 2016. That has changed recently with 4-3 overtime wins in consecutive years. Andre Burakovsky scored twice in last year’s game at American Airlines Arena, including the game winner in overtime.
This is now becoming a concern. The Caps have as much talent as anyone on their top power-play unit, but if you can’t enter the zone cleanly then you can’t set it up. They have one power-play goal in eight games and it’s stressing their goaltending and five-on-five play, which have both been solid. Washington is 1-for-24 since Dec. 15. The unit is still ranked 10th in the NHL (22.7 percent).
Alex Ovechkin became one of two players in NHL history to record 30 goals in each of his first 14 seasons when he scored against St. Louis in a 5-2 loss on Thursday. Against the Stars, he will set a career high by playing in his 204th consecutive game.
That streak will end soon, however. Ovechkin will be suspended one regular-season game for declining to attend the All-Star game in San Jose on Jan. 26.
Meanwhile, Evgeny Kuznetsov needs one assist to reach 300 points for his career. He will become the 300th Capitals player to reach that mark.
Look for Pheonix Copley in goal in the second of a back-to-back after Braden Holtby started in the loss to St. Louis last night. In his last five starts Copley is 5-0 with a .936 save percentage and a 1.97 goals-against average. The Caps did not have a morning skate Friday, but maybe they will hold out defenseman Brooks Orpik, who has played the past two games after returning from knee surgery but at age 38 probably doesn’t need to play in a back-to-back situation.
Dallas captain Jamie Benn (17 goals, 15 assists), its third-leading scorer, will not play. He sustained an upper-body injury against New Jersey on Wednesday. Backup goalie Anton Khudobin (.920 save percentage) starts in goal for the Stars.
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