NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2016-17 campaign tonight when the Washington Capitals host the Dallas Stars at 7:30 p.m. ET. If you want to watch the game online, you can do so here.
It’s been a long time since the Capitals have dropped a game on home ice. Their last defeat at the Verizon Center was over two months ago, when they dropped a shootout decision to the New Jersey Devils on Dec. 29.
If you’re looking for their last home loss in regulation, you have to go back two weeks before that defeat to the Devils, when they fell 2-1 to the Canadiens on Dec. 17.
We knew the Capitals would be good this season, but that’s simply an incredible run for them to go on. The fact that we’re over two months into the new year and they still haven’t stumbled on home ice is remarkable.
The run could have ended on Saturday night against Philadelphia, but thanks to a power play goal by Nicklas Backstrom in overtime, the streak hit 15.
When the Capitals acquired Kevin Shattenkirk from St. Louis last week, everyone expected him to give their already lethal power play a significant boost. That hasn’t exactly been true so far.
The Caps had just one shot on goal on their first three power play attempts against Philadelphia before Backstrom cashed in.
Clearly, they’re still adjusting to their new teammate, and Shattenkirk is still getting used to them.
“Sometimes you’re going to have these games [when] the power play is not going,” Backstrom said after the win over Philadelphia, per the Washington Post. “It’s a little bit frustrating. But at the same time, you just have to try to work through it and get better at it.
“We have a new player in there. It’s a lot of new things he needs to take in. I think when we’re all five are clicking, it’s going to look better, from the breakouts to the end zone and where we are. But I thought overall maybe it wasn’t our best game. Obviously the power play was struggling, too.”
Here’s a fun fact for you via the Capitals PR staff:
Kevin Shattenkirk has recorded 24 points (4g, 20a) in 26 career games against the Stars, marking the most points he has earned against an NHL team. In addition, he ranks tied for second among active NHL defensemen in points against Dallas.
As we see every year, when teams that are out of the playoff picture have nothing left to play for, they can become dangerous. So if you expect the Capitals to steamroll the Stars tonight, that might not necessarily happen.
The Stars are coming off a 2-1 win over the Panthers, who are fighting for their playoff lives. That’s not to say that Dallas doesn’t have a chance to sneak into the postseason, but they’re seven points out of the final Wild Card spot and they have to find a way to make up five ROWs.
The win over Florida also snapped Dallas’ six-game losing streak away from home. Prior to Saturday’s victory, their last win away from American Airlines Center was on Jan. 17. It’s also the first time the Stars have given up less than two goals in a game since Dec. 17 (32 games).
So here’s what you’ll have tonight: A Capitals team that hasn’t lost a home game in 2017 taking on a Stars team that has just one road win since Jan. 18. It should be fun!