Capitals winning despite facing opponent's best

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There are only two games tonight in the NHL, and one pits the best
team in the league against a team that is struggling since the Olympic
break. The Dallas Stars are mired in mediocrity since the Olympic break,
and many (including myself) believed tonight’s game between Dallas and
the Washington Capitals would be laugher by the 25-minute mark. After
all, this was team that’s allowed 17 goals in three games going up
against the most potent and dangerous offensive team in the NHL. At the
Verizon Center.

So far, midway through the second period, that hasn’t been the case.
In fact, it’s been a fairly close game. The Stars have hung in there
despite allowing a goal within the first few minutes, as Marty Turco has
played brilliantly as he’s been peppered by 29 shots already in the

But it hasn’t just been Turco. The Stars have done their best to
counterpunch and it’s been an interesting thing to watch; the Stars have
been able to do their best to elevate their level of play against the
NHL’s best team.

There’s no doubt that the Capitals are a better team, but this is
also the best the Stars have played since before the break. This is what
the Capitals are up against every single night: every team wants to
play their best and get pumped up when taking on the Capitals. That
Washington continues to win like they do and be so dominant while doing
so is even more impressive.

The Stars have stayed in the game with great goaltending and believe
it or not a decent job on defense. And yet they’ve still allowed a high
number of shots and chances. But at this point, one good play by the
Stars in the other direction and this is a new game.

[Update] I jinxed the Stars. Alex Ovechkin scores on a 5-on-3 to put the Capitals ahead 2-0, just minutes after I posted this.

Blue Jackets’ Wennberg done for night with upper-body injury

Alexander Wennberg, Jay Bouwmeester
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It wouldn’t be a regular season game without a Columbus Blue Jackets injury, right?

OK, the Blue Jackets hope that 2015-16 looks different from the medically challenged mess of last season, but at least one player is banged up tonight.

Alexander Wennberg suffered an upper-body injury and won’t return on Friday, as the team noted.

There’s no word yet regarding how serious the issue might be. It looks like he might have suffered an injury thanks to a Chris Kreider check:

Naturally, the Blue Jackets must hope that this doesn’t begin another trend.

Kings grab goalie insurance by signing Budaj

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 22: Jhonas Enroth #1 and Peter Budaj #31 of the Los Angeles Kings stretch before a game against the Arizona Coyotes at STAPLES Center on September 22, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI via Getty Images)
via Los Angeles Kings
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In slightly less interesting Los Angeles Kings news than the latest in the Mike Richards fiasco, the team handed Peter Budaj a one-year, two-way deal on Friday.

The veteran goalie’s contract pays $575K on the NHL level and $100K in the AHL (though it’s $150K guaranteed), according to Hockey’s Cap.

At the moment, it sounds like Budaj will be third on the Kings’ goalie depth chart. That says as much about how things have been going lately for Los Angeles than Budaj’s work on a PTO.

As noted above, one of the more significant moves in Budaj’s favor came when the New York Islanders claimed Jean-Francois Berube off of waivers this week.

The Kings actually waived Budaj before signing him, so this has to be a relief to a goalie with a fairly robust resume as a backup.

All apologies to Budaj, but it’s probably true that the Kings would prefer not to see him at the NHL level very often in 2015-16.