Caps look to maintain strong start vs. winless Stars
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The Washington Capitals and Dallas Stars each have found themselves involved in a trio of one-goal decisions to begin the season, with vastly different results.
The Capitals aim to rebound from their first misstep of the young campaign on Tuesday when they host the winless Stars, who are off to their worst three-game start since 1998 -- when the franchise was located in Minnesota.
T.J. Oshie scored a goal for the second time in as many nights for Washington, which let a two-goal lead slip away in a 3-2 overtime loss to Carolina on Saturday.
"Always disappointing to be ahead in a game like that, and then see us let them back in it," Capitals coach Todd Reirden said. "And then ultimately, we get the extra point. Five (points) out of six -- if you were looking at it to start the year -- would be something that would be above average from what we're looking for. I think we did some good things in these three games, and some stuff to grow on."
Washington's power play, traditionally a strength of the club over recent years, has been sluggish out of the gate. The Capitals failed on all six opportunities with the man advantage versus the Hurricanes to drop to 2-for-11 on the season.
Washington is expected to receive a boost from the return of Evgeny Kuznetsov, who was suspended for the season's first three games by the NHL last month for "inappropriate conduct." The 27-year-old Kuznetsov tested positive for cocaine in May at the World Championships while representing the Russian national team.
"He is obviously a superior player in the league," Reirden said of Kuznetsov, who answered his career-best totals in goals (27) and points (83) in 2017-18 with 21 and 72, respectively, last season.
"We've seen his best a couple of years ago to help us win a Stanley Cup, so he can do a number of different things for us. You miss a player like that, certainly."
Kuznetsov scored a goal in the first of two meetings with Dallas last season, when the Stars took two overtime victories.
Dallas hasn't been as fortunate in the early going of this season.
"We're in tight games and we're not a high-scoring team, so we're going to have to win these games, so of course it's frustrating," Mattias Janmark said following Sunday's 4-3 setback to Detroit. "There's things we've got to do better to end up on the right side."
One notable thing is to take fewer penalties, as the Stars were whistled for eight of them versus the Red Wings.
"We just have to be better than this," captain Jamie Benn said. "We can't take that many penalties against a good young team, especially with that kind of speed."
Tyler Seguin, who Sunday scored for the first time this season, capped a two-goal performance by converting 3:37 into overtime of a 2-1 win against Washington last Jan. 4.
Roope Hintz, who set up Seguin's winner in that game, increased his team-leading goal total to three with two tallies versus Detroit.