Marching forward without Jamie Benn, the Dallas Stars will look to avenge an ugly loss to the Minnesota Wild Sunday night as they play guest to the Detroit Red Wings' home opener festivities Tuesday at "The Joe."
"I thought our start needed to be better," said coach Glen Gulutzan of Sunday's loss. "Back-to-back we seemed a little lethargic to start the game. I think both teams were, but if you want to win on the road you've got to be prepared. Sometimes you can get the game in the first 10 minutes like they did."
Dallas went winless against the Red Wings last season, going 0-3-1 and getting out-scored 15-9 overall. It was the fourth time in the last nine seasons the Stars went without a single victory at the Joe.
From Dallas Stars PR: "Dallas Stars forward Loui Eriksson enters tomorrow's game on a 10-game point-streak against the Detroit Red Wings. Eriksson, who ranks third on the team against Detroit with 21 points and second with 11 goals in 23 career matchups, has tallied 14 points (7G-7A) in his last 10 games against the Red Wings."
The puck drops at 6:30pm CST on Fox Sports Southwest.
The Stars took a day of partial rest in snowy Detroit yesterday, holding an optional practice, from which many chose to abstain. It's their third game in four nights and the legs didn't look as fresh as Glen Gulutzan would have liked in Minnesota on Sunday night already.
Reilly Smith had some dental work done Sunday morning and Brenden Morrow took a nasty cut on his nose after being struck by a puck directed off the boards by Stephane Robidas Sunday night, but both are expected to play. Morrow will reportedly add a visor to protect the stitches in his nose.
That should leave lines looking something like to start with:
On defense it looks like Aaron Rome could make his Dallas Stars debut. He's been nursing a nagging, but minor groin injury for seven days now but he could re-enter the lineup tonight. Expect him to be paired with Trevor Daley in lieu of Jordie Benn if he does, but Brenden Dillon could also come out.
Kari Lehtonen should be the most rested man on the team, and will re-enter the net after watching Cristopher Nilstorp's wonderful, though fruitless, performance Sunday night.
Will a day off rejuvenate these Stars' legs, or will the line shuffling seen late Sunday continue as scoring chances are hard to come by?
Nick Lidstrom, Brad Stuart, Tomas Holmstrom, Darren Helm, Jiri Hudler, and Brian Rafalski - The Detroit Red Wings lost some key pieces in the off-season before the lockout began, and now their blue line is a patch-work of unpredictability that has many wondering if their 21 season playoff streak is in jeapordy.
The Wings added some youth from their system, some grit in Jordin Tootoo, and retain Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk. Throw in solid netminding from Jimmy Howard and Mike Babcock behind the bench and reports of their demise will probably prove to be a little bit (entirely) too premature.
In their first game of the season the Red Wings were dominated by the Blues on the road by the lopsided score of 6-0, allowing four power-play goals to St. Louis on just five man-advantage situations. Detroit came on top last night in Columbus but needed a shootout to do so, and allowed the Blue Jackets two more power play goals in seven tries.
"The Monster" Jonas Gustavsson relieved Howard in their first outing but was unable to dress last night in Columbus, leaving Tom McCollum as Howard's backup. One the second night of a back-to-back, with Gustavsson's status up in the air, it's anyone's guess who the Stars will see in net.
Keep an eye on young Damien Brunner, who played along side Zetterberg overseas during the lockout.
Update: Colaiacovo injured his shoulder last night and will not play. Ericsson is questionable.
That Smith, by the way, is Reilly Smith's brother Brendan, who plays defense. The two have met repeatedly already this season, though it was at the American League level.
The Wings may have needed a shootout to best the Blue Jackets last night, but they hit three posts alone in the first period and started quickly, out-possessing Columbus by a wide margin. At the Joe in their home opener tonight, with the luxury of last change and putting the Datsyuk line out against whoever they like, they could be that much more deadly.
To complicate matters on the "home opener" emotional front, Tomas Holmstrom will hold a press conference just prior to the game to officially announce his retirement.