WASHIONGTON, DC – Dustin Jeffrey scored his first two goals of the season as the Dallas Stars coasted to a 5-0 victory over the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center in Washington. That loss, coupled with Colorado’s overtime victory over Columbus, leaves the Capitals two points out of the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. Kari Lehtonen stopped 35 shots for his fourth shutout of the season.
“There wasn’t one part of the game tonight that was good enough — 5-on-5, power play, penalty kill, everything. It looked like we weren’t prepared. We talked about everything, but it looked more like a preseason game for us than a game that we needed to win to make the playoffs,” said Capitals forward Eric Fehr.
Tyler Seguin opened the scoring with a deflection off Jamie Benn’s shot at 15:08 of the first period.
Ray Whitney scored on a two-on-zero breakaway after Alex Goligoski found him and Alex Chiasson on the blue line with an outlet pass at 9:16 of the second period.
“We came out well and they had a couple pushes at different times of the game, but I thought we handled that well. We played a fast game tonight and we got a lot of chances. We had a lot of two-on-ones and we even had a two-on-none, so it’s not often you see that many scoring chances,” said Whitney.
Jeffrey’s first goal, just 34 seconds later, was the straw that broke Jaroslav Halak’s back, chasing him after he allowed three goals on 23 shots in slightly more than half a game.
The Capitals’ best scoring chance came on the power play late in the second period when they put a flurry of shots on Lehtonen, but could not score.
“I think he made some big saves in the second period, and even in the third [period] there he robbed them a couple times. I think we know this year, he’s our best player, and he makes the difference.” said Stars forward Alex Chiasson on Lehtonen.
Jeffrey’s second goal at 9:55 of the third period broke the game wide open at 4-0.
“Once we got midway through the third, you start to feel pretty good about where you’re at. It was a pretty tight game in the first period, and we were able to put one away. I think as soon as we got two [goals], it forced them a little out of their element and to take some chances,” said Dallas head coach Lindy Ruff.
The Verizon Center began to empty to a chorus of boos on Ryan Garbutt’s shorthanded goal at 14:50 of the third period.http://
“In hindsight, probably the thing that bothers me the most is that we had a very good first period, very good. In terms of desperation I thought the guys played very solid in the first period. We let a goal in the second period deflate us. That’s surprising, if anything. The third period is as ugly as it can get, and unfortunately those things happen sometimes,” said Washington head coach Adam Oates.