Capital Gains (Reaching for the Stars; 01.04.19)

Ross James/ALOST


akoiki-passport2 – by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief


DALLAS — Dallas Stars head coach Jim Montgomery called their latest win at home a lucky victory. If so, the Stars were “lucky” to have both Tyler Seguin and Anton Khudobin perform at their best to carry the team to another two points and into the top three of the Central Division standings.

Seguin scored both of Dallas’ goals, including the game winner in overtime, while Khudobin made 36 saves as the Stars defeated the defending-champion Washington Capitals 2-1 on Friday to complete a 3-0-1 home stand.

Khudobin, especially, was on his game, making 31 of his 36 saves after the first period. In his last start, he set a Stars’ franchise record for saves in a shutout, making 49 stops in a win in Nashville on Dec. 27.

“We were lucky to win,” Stars head coach Jim Montgomery said. Second and third [periods] weren’t good enough. [Khudobin] was great again. Thank God for our goalies.”

Khudobin’s heroics allowed the Stars a chance to stay in the game and steal the win, an opportunity Seguin cashed in on at 3:37 into overtime when he took a cross-ice backhand pass from Alexander Radulov before letting go of a wrist shot in front that beat a sprawling Pheonix Copley in the Capitals goal.

“Just hopped on the ice and went back door,” said Seguin, whose two goals tonight extended his points streak to four games. “I didn’t see the puck. I knew [Radulov] had it and just laid it on my stick, and I went back door and pushed it in.”

The game could be separated into two parts, as the Stars outshot the Capitals 15-5 in the first period and went ahead on Seguin’s power-play goal at 13:20. Radulov’s shot went off the leg of Dallas center Radek Faksa and Copley before Seguin, parked on the bottom of the left circle, pounced on the rebound and fired the puck in with a forehand.

In the second and third periods, the Capitals outshot Dallas by a combined total of 29-10. Washington equalized at 10:19 of the second period when Lars Eller sent a backhand toward the net that beat a screened Khudobin as left winger Andre Burakovsky provided interference in front of the Stars’ net for the Capitals.

In the third period, Washington outshot the Stars 14-2, but Khudobin stood tall in making all 14 stops to extend the game into overtime.

“If we play a second and third period like that, then we’re going to win a lot of games,” Capitals head coach Todd Reirden said. “I think that’s the lowest amount of shot total that we’ve held an opponent to in the third period. Two shots.”

Six of Khudobin’s 36 saves came off the stick of Alexander Ovechkin, including a shot that went off the mask of Khudobin when the Capitals were on the power play late in the third period.

“I know how dangerous [Ovechkin] is on the power play,” Khudobin said. “Luckily, I had the saves and he was a little mad at me.”

The Stars continued one of the more peculiar streaks in the league, as they have not lost at home to the Capitals in regulation since 1995, going 13-0-4 against Washington on home ice since Oct. 8, 1996.

“It’s a shame we leave with only one point,” Reirden said.

*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Friday’s game, with all photos taken by Dallas-area photographer Ross James. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 27 pictures in total.

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