Some thoughts and observations after the Dallas Stars ran their winning streak to five games with a 2-1 victory over the Washington Capitals Thursday night.
A big win on many levels. It ran the winning streak to five games and gave the Stars a record of 7-1-1 in their last nine games. It pushed the home points to streak to eight games (7-0-1). And, of course, it’s another two points in the standings. And it came against the Washington Capitals.
A quote from Stars coach Marc Crawford: “When you knock off the top team in the East, it says a lot about our group. We bent a few times, but I liked our resolve. We had outstanding performances from a lot of people. … We didn’t have any passengers in our group, we knew we were going to need everybody and I think we can be better the next time we play them, too, because that’s a confidence booster for us.”
What a game for Andrew Raycroft, who stopped 37 of 38 shots in the game. He was excellent throughout, but he was really big in the first period when the Capitals dictated play and outshot the Stars 14-7. The Stars could have been in a hole early, but Raycroft got them to the second period tied at 0-0.
Raycroft’s numbers on the season are impressive: 3-1-0, 1.65 goals against average and .951 save percentage. You can’t ask for much more from your backup than that.
The second period was a lot of special teams. The Stars were on the power play four times and that seemed to change the game, taking a lot of the steam out of the Capitals and giving some life to the Stars. They scored on one – thanks to Mike Ribeiro knocking home the rebound of a Brad Richards shot - to get the lead.
Big goal of the night goes to Brandon Segal, who scored just 20 seconds after the Capitals had tied the game with a power play goal in the third period. Not sure if it was simply a great shot or caught a little of the defender’s stick. Either way, it was well-timed and big.
Adam Burish, Steve Ott and Toby Petersen did a nice job – along with Stephane Robidas and Nicklas Grossman – on Alex Ovechkin in the game. Ovechkin’s goal scoring drought is now at nine games.
The call on Ovechkin being in the crease and interfering with Raycroft was a tough one. It was a bang-bang play. It’s easy to sit there and analyze replays, but it’s not a reviewable play and the ref has to make that call based on what he sees in real time. Based on where the ref was and what happened, it’s not hard to see why the call was made. Not sure if it was the right one.