Caps top Stars 4-1; 1st regulation win in Dallas in 24 years
DALLAS (AP) — Tom Wilson scored a power-play goal before Washington got busy killing penalties.
The strong special teams combo helped the Capitals get their first regulation victory in Dallas in 24 years.
Evgeny Kuznetsov also had a goal with the man advantage, rookie goalie Ilya Samsonov won again in his second career start and the Capitals beat the Stars 4-1 on Saturday night.
The last time Washington won in regulation in Dallas, the Stars still played at Reunion Arena. It was a 4-3 victory on Oct. 17, 1995. Dallas was 13-0-4 in that stretch. The Stars moved to American Airlines Center in 2001.
Wilson’s tally came on a rebound during a four-minute high-sticking penalty against rookie Joel Hanley just 52 seconds into the game. Kuznetsov skated in untouched early the third period after a holding the stick call against Hanley.
The Capitals killed all six of their penalties as the Stars dropped to 1 of 20 on the power play this season.
“The penalty killing against a power play like that, all of the skill that they have, is a challenge,” coach Todd Reirden said. “The best penalty killer’s gotta be your goalie, and I thought he was very strong tonight.”
Samsonov stopped the first 19 shots before Radek Faksa rammed in a wraparound midway through the third. Samsonov finished with 24 saves and has stopped 49 of 51 shots in two starts.
“Just a real stoic guy back there, good angles, played great for us in both games,” said John Carlson, who had Washington’s second goal when a failed breakout by Dallas turned into a 4-on-1 for the Capitals.
Anton Khudobin had 21 saves in his second start, including against Alex Ovechkin alone in front in the second period. Ovechkin scored an empty-netter in the final minute.
Joe Pavelski, the free agent pickup expected to boost Dallas’ scoring, is still looking for his first goal. He was denied by Samsonov on a point blank try late in the first period. And he’s a big part of the struggling power play as well.
“It felt better, but I’d be kidding myself if I said it was good enough,” Pavelski said. “We’ve got to stay with it. If we can stay on net, keep tipping pucks, we’re going to get a few bounces and a few of those are going to start going in. But it’s time for production.”
The Stars spent most of the first five minutes on the penalty kill. After Wilson’s goal on a rebound, Dallas challenged a no-call on a hand pass. The challenge failed, and the Stars were assessed a delay of game under the new rule. The Stars killed the second penalty.
“We all thought that when the hand pass hit the skate, that it would be a hand pass,” coach Jim Montgomery said. “But they said it was a deflection and not a possession play. That’s why it wasn’t a hand pass.”
After those two calls, it was Washington’s turn to kill penalties — six in a row over the rest of the first period and the second. Wilson was called for tripping and high-sticking during that stretch. The Stars had just two shots during the four second-period power plays.
“I think we did a decent job of disrupting,” Reirden said. “When there was breakdowns, we seemed to do a really good job of collapsing around out net and paying the price when we had to to block shots or have good stick on puck and at least deflect a few pucks out of play.”
The Capitals opened the season with four of six games on the road, and all three of their wins have come away from home.
“We’re playing pretty good hockey,” Wilson said. “I think we’ve had a good chance to win every night. We’re putting ourselves in a position that we want to be in throughout the game.”
NOTES: The teams met for the second time in less than a week to complete the season series. Dallas’ only victory of the season was 4-3 in overtime at Washington on Tuesday. ... Carlson, who also had an assist, entered the game leading all NHL defensemen with eight points. He’s up to 10 with two goals and eight assists.
Capitals: Colorado on Monday to start three-game homestand.
Stars: At Buffalo on Monday to start four-game trip.