Another seemingly long break after a disappointing Saturday night result comes to a close tonight. Much like last week, the Stars find themselves facing a team considered to be one of the very best, that like San Jose, hasn't lost a regulation game in their barn yet this year. Dallas will look to repeat their performance at HP Pavillion last week, pulling two points out of a building where only one other team has been able to so far this season.
Last year, the Stars managed to take three of four from the Red Wings, including a dramatic overtime finish at American Airlines Center in front of a national television audience. Their lone win at Joe Louis Arena last year, a 4-2 victory in January, was Marty Turco's first of his career. He carried an 0-8-2 mark at the Joe entering that game. He had won a game there the year before in the playoffs.
This is a matchup of two teams going in opposite directions as of late. The Wings have a whole heap of injury problems, and yet are winners of six of their last seven and are scoring goals in huge numbers. Dallas, conversely, have been relatively healthy as of late and haven't scored more than two goals in a game since October 30th when they hosted the Florida Panthers.
The Stars will try to reverse the recent fortunes of both teams tonight at 6:30pm CST on Fox Sports Southwest.
After the jump: Lines for tonight's game and a check on injuries.
To be successful at the Joe, winning the special teams battle is a must. In the Stars win in Detroit last year, they scored three power play goals to the Red Wings' one. If there's one area of the Stars game that's been pretty good lately, it's been the penalty kill. The Stars have not surrendered a power play goal in their last four outings, killing their last 13 penalties over that stretch. The power plays is a different story: The Stars have connected on only one of their last eleven opportunities with the man advantage, missing out on several chances in Phoenix to tie the game.
Dallas will hope to get some scoring from someone other than just James Neal, who has scored 8 goals on his last 21 shots. He's scored in seven of the teams last eight games. Mike Ribeiro, meanwhile, has only three assists in his last six games and Marc Crawford had placed Mike Modano on the Ribeiro/Morrow line to jump start their offense. It worked for Modano; not so much for the other two. Brenden Morrow has only one assist in his last six contests.
As a result, the lines were juggled even further this week at practice, as Mike Heika reports:
Lineup against Detroit Wednesday should probably look like this:
Ott played well with Ribeiro last year, and Jere Lehtinen gives him the center the right handed shot that he likes to look for. All we can do is wait and see.
The Red Wings:
Detroit has won six of it's last seven games by a combined score of 27 to 13. Recently they demolished the Ducks 7-4 on the strength of Hank Zetterberg's career best five point night (3 goals, 2 assists) and a few days before that, went into Columbus and hung NINE on a Ken Hitchcock coached Blue Jacket team. You don't see that every day. You don't see that every season, even. So Marty Turco has his work cut out for him. The Red Wings once again lead the league in shots on goal at 33.9 per game.
What is really impressive about this run Detroit is on, is that they've done it while pretty banged up. Chris Osgood and Kirk Maltby have been battling the flu. Jason Williams and Valtteri Filppula are both dealing with broken bones, and Andreas Lilja has missed time with a concussion. Another Wing Marty won't have to deal with in his crease tonight is Johan Franzen. (torn ACL)
The Wings used these lines for the game against the Ducks: [Detroit Free Press]
The lines are:
With Lidstrom-Rafalski, Kronwall-Stuart, Ericsson-Lebda on defense.
Dallas: Fabian Brunnstrom, injured shoulder, has been skating quite a bit but is not ready. Another practice injury, Brian Sutherby (groin) is still working out off-ice. Jere Lehtinen will be back in the lineup tonight.
Detroit: Lilja (concussion); Franzen (ACL); Osgood (Flu); Maltby (Flu); Filppula (Wrist); Williams (fibula)