The Stars come in looking to avenge 1-0 loss last night in St. Louis to the Blues. Dallas played a competitive game and fought the (now) league leading Blues to a stand still through 50 minutes but Oshie got the game winner and Halak shut the door. The Stars tried to take the positives from it with their two centers out in Jamie Benn and Mike Ribeiro.
"We were one shot away. Give St. Louis credit," said Adam Burish after the game. "That’s a good hockey team. But that is the kind of game going forward, with the injuries we have and what we’re going through, that’s how we have to play. I think overall we can be positive about it."
They won't have much time to reflect the good or the bad in a back to back situation. The Stars have dropped their first six games on the second night of a back to back this year, including a 5-2 loss to these Red Wings on November 12th. They've been outscored 24-8 in this situation and have seven additional back to back sessions remaining this year after tonight to make 14 overall.
Detroit cruised to an easy 5-0 win in Buffalo and also traveled last night. In their last visit to the American Airlines Center they defeated the Stars 5-4 in a wild back and forth game. Dallas trailed 3-1 at the end of the first period. All four Stars goals cut a two goal lead to one but the Wings answered every time to preserve their victory.
Kari Lehtonen was spectacular last nigh but Richard Bachman is scheduled to get the start for Dallas. His first and only back to back start for the Stars this year was one month ago in New Jersey: a 6-3 loss.
Much more on each team after the jump...
Dallas wanted to play a low scoring game and did just that in St. Louis, holding the Blues to the perimeter more often than not and giving Kari Lehtonen much in the way of low quality shots to stop, though he equaled some pretty difficult ones as well. The Blues play that style habitually anyway. The Red Wings are a different animal and keeping this score down could prove more challenging.
"I liked the work ethic," said Gulutzan. "We didn't create a whole ton, but we worked hard and, for the most part, we were fairly stingy."
The 'not creating a whole ton' part is what might get the Stars into trouble if they fall behind early again to the Wings. Dallas has just one goal in their last six periods of play now.
Another thing that might lead to more possession is faceoffs. The Stars won just 38% of their draws last night. Their top two centers now are Tom Wandell and Vernon Fiddler. Wandell lost 7 of 10 and Fiddler lost 13 of 16. Ott and Burish won a combined 12 of 20 and held their own, but were playing on the same line at even strength. If it continues to be an issue can the coaching staff afford to shuffle the lines just based on that?
Mike Heika reported last night that Tomas Vincour could be ready to go tonight if needed. He missed 14 games with a knee injury and has not practiced with the team, but he is close and could be an option if they decide to shake things up again. Vernon Fiddler and Radek Dvorak both appeared to be shaken up last night, as did Sheldon Souray, so we'll keep a close eye on the injury situation moving forward. Philip Larsen is getting close to returning as well.
From Stars PR: The Stars have had over 15,000 fans in seven of the eight home games since Tom Galgardi reduced ticket prices throughout all of American Airlines Center. In those eight games, the Stars are averaging 15,781 fans in the building, which is a 37.6% increase over Dallas' first 14 home games.
Again, Richard Bachman is expected to get the start in net.
The Red Wings:
Like the Blues, the Wings are unbeatable at home going 17-2-1 thus far in their own building. On the road, however, they have been inconsistent all year long. They're 11-13-0 (though they did win in Dallas) overall away from home and 5-8-0 over their last 13. They've managed just one road power play goal in their last nine games.
Last night's victory was a team record 15th straight at Joe Louis Arena. Jimmy Howard started last night for the Wings and could again tonight. Else it will be Ty Conklin in net. The Wings killed three Buffalo power play opportunities while failing to score on four of their own.
Unlike the Stars they're relatively healthy with just Mike Commodore and Patrick Eaves listed on their injury report. Here's their projected lineup:
SB Nation blog Winging it in Motown has more on the Wings win last night...
Henrik Zetterberg built off a strong third period against Chicago by opening the scoring for the Wings. After drawing a penalty earlier in the period, he pounced on a Sabres turnover in the offensive zone. His wrist shot tipped of a Sabre defenseman's stick and over Ryan Miller's glove to give the Wings an early lead.
The last few minutes of the first became the Pavel Datsyuk show. First he sprung Johan Franzen with another backhand pass, and Mule made no mistake by going top corner on Miller. Then with 17 seconds left in the period, his saucer pass landed on the stick of Todd Bertuzzi, who put a shot on net. Miller made the save, but Nicklas Lidstrom buried the rebound in a play that was eerily similar to something I've seen before, although I can't place the memory. For the second straight meeting, the Wings had a 3-goal lead on the Sabres and appeared to be off to the races.