Pre-game notebook: Caps at Stars

Pre-game notebook: Caps at Stars
October 5, 2013, 3:45 pm
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When in the car with Ovechkin, wear your seat belt

News and notes as the Caps [1-1-0] prepare for tonight’s game in Dallas against the 1-0-1 Stars.

5-on-5: The Caps are 5-for-9 on the power play this season but have been outscored 6-3 in 5-on-5 play. “We have to bear down,” said Jason Chimera. “We know the power play is in the back of our mind, so maybe the sense of urgency is not great 5-on-5, but it should be. Fvie-on-five is where I do my damage.”

Minutes for Marty: Through two games, left wing Marty Erat is averaging just 7:45 a game, the lowest of his 11-year career. Erat has been playing on a line with Jay Beagle and Tom Wilson and is expected to be there again tonight in Dallas. Earlier in the week, Erat, who has two years and $9 million remaining on his contract, voiced his displeasure with his ice time and Adam Oates said the two have talked about it. “It’s tough,” Oates said. “I’m trying to find him minutes but I also have to find other guys minutes as well. He was great about it. He has [proven himself]. You gotta be a pro about it and I expect him to be and I’ll try to find him as many minutes as I can in the course of a game.”

Gonchar keeps going: At 39, Sergei Gonchar is beginning his 19th NHL season and first with the Stars. A first-round pick of the Caps in 1992 [14th overall] Gonchar has played in 1,178 games for the Caps, Bruins, Penguins, Senators and Stars. “He’s one of those guys you think is going to slow down,” Chimera said. “But he’s very patient with the puck. He’s one of those guys who could play until he’s 50.”

Ovi gallery: Alex Ovechkin recorded 11 shots on goal on Thursday against Calgary. Ovechkin’s 37 career games with 10 shots or more are the most of any active player in the NHL. Ovechkin has registered 20 shots on goal in the first two games this season after leading the NHL in shots on goal last season [220].

Hot starts: Mikhail Grabovksi and Ovechkin have each registered five points (3g, 2a) while Nicklas Backstrom has collected four points (1g, 3a) through two games this season. It marks the most points Grabovski has earned in the first two games of a season in his career and the most points Backstrom and Ovechkin have earned in the first two games of a season since 2009-10.

Dallas connection: Caps D John Erskine played for the Stars from 2001-06. He registered four points (2g, 2a) and 237 penalty minutes in 107 games with Dallas.