Game 8 Preview: Caps at Dallas Stars

Posted by Dave Nichols | Saturday, October 25, 2008 | , | 0 comments »

The Washington Capitals (3-3-1) travel to "Big D" to face the Dallas Stars (3-4-1) at American Airlines Center at 8:00 ET.

The Caps are on the last leg of a three-game western swing, and the third period in Phoenix showed it, especially on defense. Holding a 1-0 lead entering the period, the team committed two costly turnovers leading directly to the Coyotes two third period goals, and the offense could not muster a comeback.

Washington's number one line, featuring LW Alex Ovechkin, captain RW Chris Clark and C Nicklas Backstrom, is struggling the first few weeks of the season. They have seven points between them, four fewer than LW Alexander Semin, leading the team with eleven (6 goals, 5 assists).

The problem was never more pronounced than with about 1:30 left Thursday night. Backstrom found Ovechkin in the slot, all by himself --the result of a well-placed lower back cross-check. Ovie had a modicum of difficulty corralling the pass, then could get no lift on the puck, dumping it squarely into the mid-section of G Mikael Tellqvist. The Caps would get no closer to victory.

G Jose Theodore is playing well, though, behind his struggling skaters. He played his best game of the season in the desert, and hopes to build some much needed consistency off the effort.

Dallas comes home after a three-game road trip of their own, winning two of the three while in the New York metropolitan area. They defeated the N.Y. Rangers 2-1 on October 20, fell in New Jersey two nights later 5-0, and rebounded to out slug the New York Islanders 5-3 Thursday night.

In that game, Mike Ribiero recorded five points, and he paces the Stars in scoring with nine points total. Rookie LW Fabian Brunnstrom leads the squad in goals with four (three coming in his debut), while veterans Brendan Morrow and Mike Modano each have three.

Goalie Marty Turco has struggled a bit this season so far. He's been between the pipes for every game, compiling a 3-4-1 record with a 4.04 GAA and .848 save percentage. The back-up is Tobias Stephan, and he has appeared twice (3.60, .824).

CAPS: LW Alexander Semin (6-5-11, +6); D Mike Green (4-2-6, +4); G Jose Theodore (4 GA, .935 S% in last two games)

STARS: C Mike Ribiero (1-8-9, -4); LW Brenden Morrow (3-5-8, -3); C Mike Modano (3-4-7, +1)


CAPS: D Milan Jurcina (1-0-1, -2), RW Chris Clark (0-1-1, -1)

STARS: D Matt Niskanen (0-1-1, -5); C Sean Avery (0-2-2, -1)


CAPS: D Tom Poti (groin-DTD); D John Erskine (calf-DTD); F Viktor Kozlov (knee-OUT)

STARS: D Sergei Zubov (hip-IR); D Doug Janik (face-OUT); RW Jere Lehtinen (groin-DTD); C Steve Ott (groin-DTD)