The Dallas Stars are off to a surprising hot start and remain atop the Western Conference with the most points. And their success against the Washington Capitals in recent seasons lends reason to believe they can stay hot.
The Stars seek their fourth straight victory and third in a row against the Capitals while spoiling the Caps unbeaten home start when the division leaders face off tonight.
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.
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.
Kari Lehtonen will start who 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.
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.
Dallas Stars – Kari Lehtonen
Washington Capitals – Michal Neuvirth
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