Post-game analysis of the Capitals’ 4-3 loss to the Dallas Stars Saturday night at American Airlines Arena:
How it happened: Braden Holtby allowed four goals on 17 shots in the second period and was replaced by backup Philipp Grubauer for the third period, which saw the Capitals rally with goals from Alex Ovechkin, Justin Williams and Andre Burakovsky before running out of time.
What it means: The Caps had their win streak snapped at five and lost in regulation for just the 10th time in 54 games. The Caps’ lead in the Metro Division remains at 16 points over the Rangers but their lead over the Stars was cut to seven in the race for the Presidents’ Trophy.
Where they stand: If the season finished tonight the Caps would face the eighth-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round of the playoffs. The Pens are 7-3-0 in their last 10.
Trotz’s take: Barry Trotz said he was satisfied with a scoreless first period but said turnovers in the second period left Holtby to “hang and dry.”
“When you turn the puck over as many times as we did and the areas we did, we just left Holts to hang and dry there,” Trotz said. “We deserved what we got. If we’re going to be a good team we need to be consistent through three period and we were not.”
Statistically speaking: The Caps were outshot 35-23 but outscored the Stars 3-0 in the third period. They have scored at least one third-period goal in 19 straight games and rank first in the NHL with 70 third-period goals, one more than the Stars.
“We played the right way in the third,” Trotz said. “We lost the game in the second period and that’s totally on us.
“We believe no matter what the score we can come back. We have people in our room that can score and people in our room with good character.”
Rocket man: Ovechkin’s 35th goal of the season put him two ahead of Patrick Kane in his chase for a sixth Rocket Richard Trophy as the NHL’s leading goal scorer. Ovechkin is on pace for 54 goals.
Two for Kuzy: Evgeny Kuznetsov picked up two assists and now has 19 points in his last 13 games (2 goals, 17 assists). The Chelyabinsk, Russia, native recorded his 100th career NHL point on Tuesday against the Predators, becoming the sixth Capitals player since the 1987-88 season to earn 100 career points before 150 games played (Nicklas Backstrom, Peter Bondra, Dmitri Khristich, Alex Ovechkin and Alex Semin).
Bura-cuda: With his third-period goal Andre Burakovsky now has 15 points in his last 13 games (7 goals, 8 assists) after recording 10 points (4 goals, 6 assists) in his first 38 games this season. Burakovsky’s nine-game point streak is the longest by a Capital since Nicklas Backstrom recorded a nine-game point streak during the 2012-13 season. Burakovsky played in his 100th NHL/Capitals game on Feb. 6 at New Jersey, becoming the eighth player in franchise history to reach 100 games before their 21st birthday (Bob Carpenter, Scott Stevens, Kevin Hatcher, Gaetan Duchesne, Tom Wilson, Mike Marson, Nicklas Backstrom).
What’s next: The Caps will have the day off on Sunday, then return to Kettler on Monday, where they’ll prepare to face the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday at Verizon Center.