Believe it or not we actually get to return to real hockey tonight and put this circus on hold for a short time while the Dallas Stars attempt to put an end to their 2-10-1 slide in Detroit against an always good Wings team.
In their last meeting the Red Wings dismantled the Stars 7-3 at the American Airlines Center. Dallas held a 3-1 lead in the second period but allowed Detroit to score six unanswered goals, including two power play markers. The Stars lost their last game to New Jersey on the penalty kill and as always with Detroit, staying out of the box will be key.
Even more key will be getting the power play back on track. The Stars have scored on just 1 of their last 20 road power plays (5%) and are 3 for their last 35 overall (8%). It's a symptom of a greater problem Dallas faces in the absence of Brad Richards: They can't score goals. Dallas is averaging 1.5 goals per game in their last eight while giving up over three a game.
San Jose managed to score four on the Wings on Tuesday but needed 43 shots on goal and a power play tally to do it. Puck possession is usually a problem for the Stars against the Wings and Jimmy Howard has been very good so they would need to manufacture an effort similar to what the Sharks did at the Joe this week to get their offense going again.
The more likely path to victory for Dallas is try to keep the score low and limit the Wings chances like they did with New Jersey on Tuesday in keeping them scoreless through 55 minutes.
No Brad Richards tonight and Nick Grossman but Dallas will get a boost with the return of emotional leader Adam Burish...
It was Burish who helped get this team believing in itself when the season began and he's such a great personality in the room. Having him back with the team can only improve morale and maybe lighten a pretty heavy mood around this team right now.
On ice he'll help Steve Ott immensely with faceoff duties. Too often lately has Ott been sent out to win a draw and get back to the bench ASAP only to get caught on the ice. Burish will help there, and on the PK.
Guessing, mind you, lines could look like this...
Which doesn't look like the Texas Stars roster any more. Crawford will likely jumble and juggle, so I'm sure this is completely wrong.
Meanwhile Stars fans will get their second look at Alex Goligoski and hopefully some time around the team will have helped him become a little more comfortable, though, he seemed to fit right in on Tuesday after basically walking right off the plane.
Goligoski has played the Wings only four times (regular season) in his career registering no goals and two assists. He has, of course, seen them in the playoffs a time or two.
Mike Modano will not play tonight. He is targeting Saturday for his first game back since having his wrist cut by a skate blade in November. Mike Heika talked to Mo and has some good quotes over at the DMN. It seems Mike is considering playing there next season as well.
Some media printed for this game (like this schedule magnet I am holding) say 6:00pm CST start tonight but it's at 6:30. We'll see you in the GDT tonight...