Series (Game 1 of 1)

Dallas leads 1-0

Game 1: Tuesday, November 8th

Stars 5

(11-3-0, 22 pts)

Capitals 2

(9-4-0, 18 pts)

7:00 PM ET, November 8, 2011

Verizon Center, Washington, District of Columbia

1 2 3 T
DAL 2 0 35
WSH 1 1 02

J. Benn (Stars - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 2

M. Ryder (Stars - RW): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

T. Daley (Stars - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 1

Stars-Capitals Preview


The Dallas Stars are off to a surprising start while boasting the most points in the Western Conference.

Their success against the Washington Capitals in recent seasons lends reason to believe they can stay hot.

Dallas seeks its fourth straight victory and third in a row against Washington while looking to spoil the Capitals' unbeaten home start when the division leaders face off Tuesday night.

The Stars (10-3-0) became the first team to double-digit victories with a 5-2 win over Carolina on Sunday, getting a pair of goals from Jamie Benn and three assists from Loui Eriksson.

Two of Eriksson's assists came on goals by Benn, who shares the team lead of 15 points with his linemate.

"I think we're just feeding off each other and have got good chemistry out there," said Benn, who also has six assists during a five-game point streak. "I think on and off the ice we've got good chemistry and it really helps on the ice.

Benn assisted on both of Eriksson's goals in a 7-6 win over Colorado on Friday. Eriksson has three goals and five assists over his last four games.

"We've got two real cerebral players (in Eriksson and Benn) and they just kind of feed off each other," coach Glen Gulutzan said. "They think the game so well, and I think Loui's been underrated for years in the NHL. They're having a good streak right now."

Goaltender Kari Lehtonen has also been a major reason for the Pacific Division leaders' success. He made 30 saves Sunday and improved to 10-1-0 with a 2.14 goals-against average, though he's only 4-6-0 with a 3.10 GAA in his last 10 starts against the Capitals.

It's unclear if he'll get the nod Tuesday for Dallas, which is 9-1-2 in 12 series meetings since 2000 while winning three of the last four in Washington.

The Southeast-leading Capitals, however, have won their first six games at Verizon Center and should be eager to bounce back after a 5-3 loss to the New York Islanders on Saturday.

Washington (9-3-0) blew a two-goal, first-period lead, and coach Bruce Boudreau said his team got away from what it did well in the opening 20 minutes.

"We started to become a little individualistic, and turnovers kill you," Boudreau said.

The Capitals, who have outscored their opponents 26-14 at home, have allowed teams to at least tie the game after opening a two-goal lead in two of their last three contests.

"It's a little bit of a trend that we start to do these things to ourselves," defenseman Karl Alzner said. "If you get enough of these (losses), you start to feel pretty bad when you turn the puck over that it's just kind of beaten into your head that you won't do it anymore. After that, hopefully we'll have some more success."

Tomas Vokoun had a 3.90 GAA while going 1-2-0 and being pulled once in his last four starts. It may be tough to get back on track if he starts Tuesday, as the veteran is 2-11-0 with one tie and a 3.00 GAA over his last 14 starts versus Dallas.

Alex Ovechkin scored two goals against the Stars during the last meeting in Washington, a 4-3 Dallas shootout victory March 8, 2010.

Mike Ribeiro's goal and Andrew Raycroft's 37 saves lifted the Stars to a 2-1 home win Dec. 2.

Raycroft is 6-2-0 with a tie and a 1.87 GAA in nine lifetime starts against the Capitals.