Stars, Caps square off in DC

A pair of first-place teams will meet tonight in Washington, as the Capitals host the Dallas Stars in an interconference showdown from the Verizon Center.

The Capitals have dropped three of five games since starting the season 7-0, but they are still two points ahead of Tampa Bay for the Southeast Division lead. Dallas, meanwhile, has won its last three tilts and is four points ahead of Phoenix for first in the Pacific.

Washington had won two in a row before it suffered a road loss Saturday against the New York Islanders. P.A. Parenteau scored the game-winner with 1:46 remaining in regulation, as the Islanders snapped a six-game slide with a 5-3 victory.

Alex Ovechkin, Joel Ward and Brooks Laich all scored for Washington, which was just one day removed from a 5-1 win at Carolina on Friday. Tomas Vokoun was beaten four times on 34 shots to take the loss.

Washington jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period on Saturday, but didn't score again until midway through the third when Laich's tally tied the game at 3-3.

"If we came out in the second period like we did the first...it probably would have been over," Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau said.

The Capitals are still unbeaten on home ice this season, posting a 6-0 record so far in the nation's capital. It's the best-ever start to a season on home ice for Washington.

The Stars won their third straight game Sunday in Carolina, as Jamie Benn scored a pair of goals and Loui Eriksson added three assists to lift Dallas to a 5-2 victory in the opener of a four-game road trip. Eriksson has eight points (3g, 5a) in his last four games and was named the NHL's Second Star for the week ending Nov. 6.

Eric Nystrom, Stephane Robidas and Michael Ryder also scored.

Dallas is 4-2-0 as the visiting club this season and will complete the swing this weekend with stops in Pittsburgh and Detroit.

On the injury front, Washington defenseman Mike Green is questionable for tonight after missing the last five games with a swollen right ankle. Veteran forward Steve Ott is expected to miss his third straight game for Dallas tonight with a hip injury.

The Stars notched a 2-1 regulation win over a visiting Washington club in the only meeting between the clubs last season. Dallas has taken seven of the last nine matchups in this series. The Stars are 3-1 with a tie in their last four trips to D.C.