Dallas Stars 5 - Washington Capitals 2
The Stars couldn't have asked for a better continuation to their 5-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes when they took on the Capitals last night. Playing one of the best teams in one of the toughest venues in the league, the Stars outworked, outplayed and just pounded the Washington Capitals into submission in their 5-2 victory.
The victory puts the Stars (11-3-0, 22 pts) atop the NHL in wins and points and shows that this team has the ability and tenacity to play with the big boys in the NHL. The loss was the first at home for the Capitals (9-4-0, 18 pts).
Dallas played one of their best games in years. They were working hard and winning pucks battles all over the ice and just seemed to want the game more than Washington did. Dallas had a couple of different goal of the year candidates from Michael Ryder and Eric Nystrom. Jamie Benn and Trevor Daley in particular were really great in their checking this game.
The game looked like it would go down to the wire after two periods. The score was 2-2 by then, with two goals from Ryder for Dallas and the Capitals getting goals from Alexander Semin and John Carlson.
Ryder's second goal was a thing of beauty. He received a cross-ice pass from Jamie Benn through some traffic and headed down towards the goaline. He stayed along the goaline and just made a magnificent move that fooled Michal Neuvirth.
Dallas came out in the third period and immediately put themselves in the driver's seat with a goal from Adam Burish just 24 seconds into the period. Mike Ribeiro lost a face-off in the offensive zone to Jeff Halpern. The puck flicked to the boards where Brenden Morrow hustled and beat two Capitals players to the puck. The second he reached it, he threw it to the front of the net, where Burish was sitting.
Burish took the puck and outmuscled Niklas Backstrom to the front of the net, where he slid it in for a goal. Momentum swung back in Dallas' direction and they never relenquished it for the rest of game.
Dallas would later get a power-play goal from Jamie Benn and then one of the best goals you'll see this entire season from Eric Nystrom. Nystrom took the puck at the blue-line and skated it in and ended up scoring while in mid-air (Bobby Orr-like). It was the perfect exclamation point to a game that Dallas dominated.
The Stars' next game will be on Friday against the Pittsburgh
Crosbys Penguins in another match between division leaders and possibly the two teams in the league with the most points.
Notes and Observations:
- The Ryder-Benn-Eriksson line has been nothing short of amazing in the past week. They had another six points combined in this game and have had 22 points in their last three games together. Needless to say, that is incredible production.
- This was probably Ryder's best game so far in his Stars career. He had seven shots to go along with his two goals and had numerous scoring chances.
- He was originally here just as a salary cap filler, but now Eric Nystrom has become a big cog in this Stars machine. He's scored a goal in three straight games and four of his last five. He's been getting 11 minutes of ice time lately and it's paid off.
- While the Stars offense has been great, their penalty kill has dropped off dramatically. They've allowed 5 PP goals in their last three games. The amount of penalties they take have killed them, but the unit just hasn't been as effective as it was earlier in the season.
- Dallas is still the only team in the league with double digit wins and Kari Lehtonen is the leader in wins with 11. He's three ahead of second place in the league.
Game Stats and Scoring Summary
|Power Plays||1 of 5
||1 of 4
- 10:32 Michael Ryder (5) Dallas 1 - Washington 0
Assists: Trevor Daley, Jamie Benn
- 15:43 Alexander Semin (3) (Power Play) Dallas 1 - Washington 1
Assists: Nicklas Backstrom, Brooks Laich
- 17:16 Michael Ryder (6) Dallas 2 - Washington 1
Assists: Jamie Benn, Loui Eriksson
- 15:56 John Carlson (2) Dallas 2 - Washington 2
Assists: Cody Eakin, Marcus Johansson
- 0:24 Adam Burish (3) Dallas 3 - Washington 2
Assist: Brenden Morrow
- 7:33 Jamie Benn (5) (Power Play) Dallas 4 - Washington 2
Assists: Adam Burish, Sheldon Souray
- 8:05 Eric Nystrom (4) Dallas 5 - Washington 2
Assist: Radek Dvorak