WASHINGTON (AP) — Mired in the franchise’s worst start since moving to Dallas, Stars players spoke up at their team dinner to set things straight.
Feeling a sense of deja vu trailing in their fourth game of the season, another fiery fireside chat at the second intermission finally snapped them out of their funk. The Stars erased a third-period deficit, bounced back from the Washington Capitals’ tying goal in the final minute of regulation and got the overtime winner from Tyler Seguin to pick up their first victory, 4-3 on Tuesday night.
Seguin’s goal 43 seconds into overtime avoided a four-game skid that would’ve matched the dubious franchise mark set by the 1988-89 Minnesota North Stars.
“There’s been tense times, there’s been good times, but to get the full two points is nice,” Seguin said. “We put all this behind us, and let’s get rolling here.”
Each of the Stars’ first three losses came by a goal, and players insisted they saw the potential to turn the corner. Roope Hintz’s fourth goal in as many games, Alexander Radulov’s two-point performance, Nick Caamano’s first of his NHL career and Ben Bishop’s 29 saves helped make that possible.
Seguin said members of the leadership group put a lot of pressure on themselves to end the skid. With Dallas trailing 2-1, coach Jim Montgomery told captain Jamie Benn after the second period that he wasn’t going into the locker room and for the players to figure it out.
They did just that, putting up the first 11 shots of the third period and showing some much-needed desperation.
“It’s huge, especially for us after that start we had,” said Radulov, who scored in the third and set up Seguin’s goal. “Nobody wants to be 0-4 and have to come back. This is a hard league. You don’t want to fall four in a row.”
The Stars easily could’ve folded in OT after Washington’s Nicklas Backstrom scored to tie it with 30.7 seconds left. Instead, they had all three shots in overtime, including Seguin’s tap-in after he stole the puck from Alex Ovechkin and set the 2-on-1 with Radulov in motion to send them home on a winning note.
“I think it’s just going to build momentum,” Caamano said. “I think that was an emotional win and it showed a lot of character from our group. We’ve just got to build off this and keep going.”
The Capitals have now lost back-to-back games in overtime after starting 2-0. Center Evgeny Kuznetsov scored less than five minutes into his season debut after being suspended the first three games for inappropriate conduct.
“I knew I had to respond right away,” Kuznetsov said. “It’s just sad we did not get the results two games in a row in overtime. That’s the thing: We have to grow.”
Defenseman John Carlson also scored for Washington, and Braden Holtby allowed four goals on 26 shots.
The Capitals went 0 for 5 on the power play. The Stars also came up empty on their four chances to drop to 0 for 10 on the season.
But a strong response in the third period and overtime was enough for Dallas to overcome its propensity for ill-timed penalties and other mistakes that have plagued them early in the season. A team picked to be a Stanley Cup contender can now start the process of looking like one.
“With winning that game and still feeling we got a lot more left in us, the sky’s the limit here,” Seguin said.
NOTES: Winger Denis Gurianov was a healthy scratch not long after being on the Stars’ top line. … Dallas winger Corey Perry skated for the second time since breaking his left foot. Coach Jim Montgomery said Perry would be re-evaluated later this week. … Kuznetsov’s return put the Capitals into a salary cap bind that forced them to send defenseman Martin Fehervary to the minors and play Tyler Lewington. … Center Nic Dowd was a healthy scratch for the Capitals. …. These teams meet for the second and final time this season Saturday in Dallas.
Stars: Return home from their road trip to face the Calgary Flames on Thursday.
Capitals: Open a two-game road trip Thursday at the Nashville Predators.