The Capitals host the Dallas Stars on Monday looking for a rare win over the Western Conference foe (7:30 p.m., CSN). Here are three bold predictions for the game.
1. Washington will trail at some point in the third period
Braden Holtby is 0-3-0 in his career against the Stars and the Caps have not beaten Dallas in Washington since Nov. 30, 2006. Those type of streaks don't die quietly. I'm not saying whether Washington will win or lose, all I'm saying is that this game will be tougher than you may expect given the type of seasons the Caps and Stars are having. If Washington is going to win it, they're going to have to work for it.
2. The Caps will take fewer than four penalties
Washington has taken four penalties in each of its last four games. It's no surprise to see them take penalties against division rivals New York and Philadelphia as well as the always frustrating New Jersey. In Nashville they were coming off a quick 22-hour turnaround. On Monday they play a team from the west that they don't see very often and who won't be in the playoffs. That should mean less animosity, less physicality and fewer penalties.
3. Washington will score on the power play
The 2012-13 Florida Panthers have the worst penalty kill in the salary-cap era at 74.2 percent. The Stars are on pace to pass them. They sit dead last in the NHL with a kill rate of 73.5 percent. The last time these two teams met—Jan. 21 in Dallas—the Caps cashed in on both of their opportunities. If they can't take advantage on the power play on Monday, even if the opportunities are few, then it's time to worry about the Caps with the extra man.
MORE CAPITALS: NHL Power Rankings: Trade deadline winners