NHL

Stars-Capitals Preview

Washington coach Barry Trotz spent most of his last post-practice press conference discussing injuries rather than the banged-up Capitals' next opponent.

Center Jay Beagle and defenseman Brooks Orpik will be out, but defenseman Mike Green could play as Washington looks to avoid dropping a seventh straight meeting with the visiting Dallas Stars on Friday night.

Beagle suffered an upper-body injury in Wednesday's 3-1 loss to the New York Rangers, while Orpik missed his first game of the season with a lower-body injury and Green sat out with an upper-body ailment.

Trotz said Green is a possibility to play against Dallas, though neither committed to the veteran suiting up. Center Michael Latta, who has missed the last three with a shoulder injury, likely will sit out again.

"You're not going to rush Brooks back, you're not going to rush (Green) back unless you're 100 percent sure (they're healthy)," Trotz said.

The Capitals (36-22-10) had won three of four before falling to the Rangers. Alex Ovechkin scored the lone goal to join Wayne Gretzky, Mike Bossy, Mario Lemieux and Marcel Dionne as the only players in NHL history with at least seven 45-goal seasons.

Ovechkin has scored six goals with two assists over his last four, but he missed a 2-1 loss to Minnesota on March 5 in that stretch due to a lower-body injury. Nicklas Backstrom, whose 69 points are one fewer than Ovechkin and rank among the league leaders, has played through a stomach virus recently.

"It's tough to see guys sitting out games, but at the same time it gives other guys a chance to step up," Backstrom said. "You can see it both ways."

Trotz sees his club needing to play only one way to beat Dallas (31-27-10). The Stars led 3-0 in the first meeting Jan. 17 before Ovechkin tied it early in the third. Dallas then scored twice in the period for a 5-4 victory, its sixth straight in the series.

"They're really active (and) play a fairly wide-open game," Trotz said. "When we tried to play their game we weren't very good. It's about not trying to get pulled into playing their game."

Tyler Seguin had a goal and assist in that contest for the Stars, who have won four of five but still sit six points behind Winnipeg for the Western Conference's final playoff spot. Dallas has won two of three since Seguin returned from missing three weeks with a knee injury, beating Carolina 5-3 on Thursday in its fourth stop on a five-game trip.

"You're going to have to battle," coach Lindy Ruff said. "You're going to have to block a couple shots, you're going to have to win some big 1-on-1 plays on your end."

Kari Lehtonen faced only 18 shots in his 500th NHL game, putting Jhonas Enroth in line to start this contest. Enroth is 1-5-0 with a 3.36 goals-against average in five starts and two relief efforts since being acquired from Buffalo.

Enroth made 43 saves in a 2-1 win over Washington on Nov. 22 while still with the Sabres, outdueling Braden Holtby, who could get the start for the Capitals.

Holtby, who didn't start the first meeting, is 3-2-0 with a 1.82 GAA in his last five.

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