Capitals begin busy stretch against Stars

WASHINGTON — The Washington Capitals open a five-game homestand Saturday night when they host the Dallas Stars at Capital One Arena.

The Capitals (5-4-2) began a stretch of 15 games in 30 days with a 6-4 loss on Thursday night in Montreal, capping a 2-2 road trip.

Dallas (7-5-0) is 2-1 on its six-game road trip after a 2-1 win on Thursday night in Toronto and is 4-1 in its last five games.

Anton Khudobin made 30 saves in his first start since Oct. 16, Jamie Benn and Devin Shore scored, and Tyler Seguin had two assists for the Stars.

Shore has goals in back-to-back games and points in five of his last six games (2-6-8).

“He’s just a smart hockey player,” Dallas coach Jim Montgomery told NHL.com. “I like the way he possesses pucks and the poise he has with the puck. He’s starting to get a lot of confidence and with that he’s skating harder and winning more one-on-one battles. He’s a guy that I’m going to continue to move around because I think he can get other players going.”

After playing on the fourth earlier in the week against Montreal — and getting a goal and two assists — Shore played on the wing with Seguin and Mattias Janmar against Toronto.

“He’s fun to play with,” Seguin said. “He’s making a lot of things happen. If it wasn’t for him in Montreal, we don’t win that game. He’s really coming into his own and maturing and playing good hockey.”

On Friday, the Starts announced that defenseman Dillon Heatherington, 23, would be recalled from the Texas Stars with Connor Carrick heading to injured reserve. Carrick did not play against Toronto after blocking a shot in the team’s loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday afternoon.

The Capitals appeared to have fashioned a great ending to their road trip before the Canadiens scored three goals in the final 3:04 Thursday night.

“Obviously it’s frustrating in the situation,” goalie Braden Holtby told NHL.com. “I think we had a chance to steal one there and just came up short. Luck seemed to be on our side for most of the third, and then it turned. We didn’t do enough to push the other way.”

Alex Ovechkin and Lars Eller each scored twice, and Holtby made 38 saves for the Capitals. It was Ovechkin’s first two-goal game of the season.

Washington will be without 38-year-old defenseman Brooks Orpik against Dallas. He’ll miss his second straight game Saturday night because of an undisclosed lower-body injury.

Christian Djoos, 24, and Madison Bowey, 23, formed the team’s third defensive pairing against Montreal.

“I thought they did some good things,” Capitals coach Todd Reirden told the Washington Post. “I think Madison in particular was able to show us his skating. I thought he made some plays offensively, just a couple chances against for them. But for the most part, they limited it.”

Holtby is 2-4 with a 4.06 goals-against average and .865 save percentage against Dallas. Ben Bishop of the Stars is 2-6-2 with a 3.46 GAA and an .888 save percentage against Washington.

The Stars went 0-1-1 against the Capitals last season but have won six of their last seven games in Washington.