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Stars Face Big Road Test Against Red Wings in Detroit Sunday (4:00pm CST)

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Dallas Stars
@ Detroit Red Wings

Sunday, Dec 19, 2010, 4:00 PM CST
Joe Louis Arena


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Winging It In Motown

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Less than 24 hours after having survived the Columbus onslaught led by Rick Nash and company, the Dallas Stars must travel to Detroit to take on their long time nemeses Red Wings on very short rest indeed.

The Stars lead the season series 1-0 after an opening night victory in Dallas on October 14th. The Stars pulled a convincing 4-1 win that night despite putting a paltry 15 shots on net, their fewest of the season. The Wings, sans Mike Modano, will be looking for revenge this afternoon on Fox Sports Southwest at 4:00pm CST.

This was to be the 2nd Mike Modano awkward-show-down of the young season but a wrist injury has Mo on injured reserve and unable to return until late spring at the earliest

Dallas is 2-3 on back to backs this year. Andrew Raycroft (2-3 on the road this year) will start tonight. In years past we would have recompiled the litany of ugly sounding numbers Marty Turco has compiled at the Joe over the years but that's hardly relevant now. Perhaps Andrew Raycrof is fearless and perfect there? Maybe?

Continued after the jump...

The Stars:

This is a tough spot for the Stars. They've started out every game on the road this month and a couple at home being dominated in first periods, and sometimes beyond. The Capitals, Blue Jackets, Blackhawks, Coyotes, Sharks, Sharks and Blue Jackets (in that order) all dictated play to the Stars to begin games. Dictated meaning "completely walked all over". We all saw it.

In this spot, against the best team in the league when they have a couple days rest and the Stars have considerably less than one day rest plus travel, we should expect more of the same. Dallas has been able to weather a couple of those storms to pull points. This afternoon could be a whole new kind of onslaught if they're not careful.

Much will depend on Andrew Raycroft.

Fresh legs will likely be in the lineup in the forms of Mark Fistric and Brian Sutherby who were scratched last night.

The Stars record on the road in the West stands at 3-5-1. They've scored power play goes in three consecutive road games. The power play is 5 for 18 overall in the last four games. (27%)

The Red Wings:

For the Wings, this is a special chance for them to earn long time goaltender Chris Osgood his 400th win and they arranged this home date especially for him with their coach:

Osgood was supposed to get the start Friday in Chicago. But one of the Wings' captains went to Babcock and asked him to start Osgood at home. Jimmy Howard started against Chicago on Friday.

Babcock said he talks with his captains daily and this was one time when both sides agreed the particular decision was the proper thing to do.

"This is one of those things when you think it's the right thing to do, you do it," Babcock said. "Sometimes when you're the coach and players have information for you, if you don't react on it, they don't think you listened. You listen all the time. When you agree with them, you listened."

For Osgood, it doesn't seem to matter where he'll be playing.

"I don't think the location is that big of a deal," Osgood said. "It'll be a bonus to do it at home, but it was never a big deal for me. I've played enough games where that doesn't matter.

So if the Stars don't being like targeted for a special feel good occasion by their opposition they might want to puncture Osgood a couple of times early and make a game out of this thing.

Detroit is 12-4-2 on home ice but has last three of their last five there, so it can be done.

Check out Winging it in Motown for your Red Wing needs:

After Dallas knocked off Columbus 2-1 last night, the Stars sit 2 points behind Detroit in the West. A Dallas win would tie them with Detroit (although the Wings would have a game in hand) or they would could slip further back with a loss. Detroit had a rather forgettable outing against the Blackhawks on Friday but are surely looking to pick things back up and get back on the horse.

A lot of the focus for today's game is going to be on one Christopher John Wadsworth Osgood. Osgood is heading for that coveted 400 wins but has Loui Eriksson, Brad Richards and Brendan Morrow of the Dallas Stars in front of that plateau. Osgood will need to be on his game because the Stars usually play pretty tight games and he can't afford to give up much.