Written by Melissa Zielinski
John Carlson scored his second goal of the season and Alexander Semin scored his third as the Washington Capitals dropped a 5-2 decision to the Dallas Stars at Verizon Center on Tuesday night. Goaltender Michal Neuvirth took the loss for the Caps who fall to 9-4-0 on the season.
Despite maintaining a 2-2 tie heading into the third period, the Washington Capitals fell to the NHL’s top team - the Dallas Stars – last night at Verizon Center. Dallas’ Jamie Benn (1g, 2a), Michael Ryder (2g) and Adam Burish (1g, 1a) all had multi-point games in the Stars’ 5-2 win, while Eric Nystrom (1g) also scored his fourth goal of the season. Backing up the offense, goaltender Kari Lehtonen stopped 30 of 32 shots he faced. With the win the Stars improve to 11-3-0 on the season.
The Caps were able to kill off a Stars’ power play opportunity early, but Dallas put the first tally on the board at 10:32 of the first period. Blueliner Jeff Schultz lost control of the puck around the right side of the net, leaving it for Dallas forward Jamie Benn. Benn then sent the puck to Trevor Daley, who drilled a shot from the top of the point. Michael Ryder grabbed the puck as it made its way through traffic, redirecting it past netminder Michal Neuvirth for the first score of the game.
The Capitals wouldn’t waste their own man-advantage however, scoring early on their first power play of the night. After Brenden Morrow of the Stars was sent to the box for a hooking minor on Caps’ captain Alex Ovechkin, Washington took control at 15:02. Less than a minute later, Brooks Laich found himself with the puck near the left corner in Dallas’ zone. He sent the puck around the backside of the net to Nicklas Backstrom, who then set up the play with Alex Semin. The 1-1 equalizer was Semin’s third goal of the season, with assists going to Backstrom and Laich.
Dallas would answer back though with less than three minutes to go in the first period to take the 2-1 lead. Benn sent the puck across the ice from the top of the right point to Michael Ryder. Ryder then took a diving shot and missed, only to regain control of the puck. As he took the puck to the net, Ryder caught Neuvirth out of position and redrew the puck back behind the Caps’ net minder, beating him glove side. The tally gave the Stars the 2-1 edge to close the first period.
After nearly 16 minutes of play, the Caps finally ended things in the second period with a 2-2 score after the evener by John Carlson. Washington’s Marcus Johansson won the initial faceoff, which then sent the puck to center Cody Eakin. After Eakin took control he made a swift pass to defenseman John Carlson for the one-timer at the top of the slot at 15:56 for the only goal of the second period.
The Stars would then send the one-two-three punch to the Capitals in the third period scoring three goals to end the Capitals’ comeback. Adam Burish would score the eventual game-winner only 24 seconds in, with the helper going to Morrow. Benn and Nystrom scored less than one minute apart to finalize Washington’s fate.
Postgame, coach Bruce Boudreau was not enthusiastic about how his team played heading into the third.
“We were fortunate to be tied at the end of the first two periods. We lost a lot of battles in the third period [in] the last two games. The compete level wasn’t as great as we’d like it to be,” Boudreau said.
Boudreau also touched on how he’d like his team to improve defensively.
“We have to get stronger in that area. We have to start winning those battles. When you don’t win the one-on-one battles, you’re not going to succeed,” Boudreau said.
Washington heads on the road for a match up with the 7-5-1 New Jersey Devils on Friday before a game the following night with the same squad at home.