The good news it that after this afternoon the Dallas Stars will already have 8 of their 15 Eastern Conference road games behind them. The bad news is that these little visits losing an hour when traveling have been almost nothing but fruitful.
The Stars will try to make certain that continues to be the case this afternoon when they visit the 7-5-1 Detroit Red Wings.
There was a time when the comings and goings of the Detroit Red Wings were well known to every Dallas Stars fan with a little-brother complex where the former was concerned- But realignment brought a swift end to that as the Wings faded to Eastern obscurity for Stars fans in a now division-centric league.
Detroit retains names you know like Kronwall and Zetterberg, but not the thing some remember most- Their puck possession.
So far this year the Wings rank dead last in Corsi % in all situations and second-to-last in 5v5 play to only those hapless Colorado Avalanche.
The Stars dominated stretches of play early in Carolina Friday but saw the home team push back at them in the back-stretch despite the 4-1 win. They had Patrick Sharp for just two shifts after his eventual game-winner and the winger could be out this afternoon according to Lindy Ruff.
He suffered an apparent ankle or knee injury in scoring that goal. Antoine Roussel missed the game with an upper-body malady but is likely to return this afternoon to pester Detroit. With no morning skate we'll have to wait until game-time to learn of Sharp's fate and the starting net-minder.
The extent of the Wings' Western Conference experience so far this season includes a single Western Canadian road swing in which they lost to the team they should beat, beat the team you'd think they might lose to, and took the mediocre team to OT before losing.
That's a win over Vancouver, a loss to Edmonton, somehow- And a 3-2 OT loss to the Calgary Flames.
Other than that it's been all Eastern Conference fodder including two each against Toronto, Tampa Bay, Ottawa and three against Carolina already. They've only played eight teams in 13 games- So it's hard to get a read on them.
They're on a three-game win streak heading into this one, needing overtime Friday to get their second goal over the Leafs, but have been out-shot in each of those victories, never themselves reaching 30 SOG in the stretch.
In fact in 13 games the highest number of shots they've posted is... 30. Just once, against Ottawa. The Dallas Stars are the league's highest "event" team at over 119 Corsi events (shots attempted) per 60 minutes played. Detroit, in direct contrast, sees the league's fourth lowest.
They want to keep things bogged down in a low-event slog fest. The Stars want to do what the Stars do best, even if it means action behind them sometimes. Which team's style will dictate play?
Detroit will roll-out something like this:
Pavel Datsyuk remains out, but is very close to returning, after off-season surgery on his ankle. He is skating but shouldn't make it back for this one. Defenseman Mike Green, however, is scheduled to return to the lineup to replace one of the d-men above after an injury on October 23rd knocked him out for a couple of weeks.
Detroit has juggled Mrazek and Howard in goal like Dallas has Niemi and Lehtonen. Mrazek gave them a sparkling 32 of 33 performance on the road in Toronto Friday to do what the Stars could not earlier in the week.
Their power play hasn't connected since Halloween, but prior to that had scored six goals in five games- So it can be dangerous. Staying out of the box in Detroit has always been a bit of a sore spot, as long time Stars fans can attest...
From Stars PR:
The Dallas Stars wrap up their four-game road trip on Sunday as the team squares off against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. Dallas went 0-1-1 against the Red Wings in 2014-15, losing their only contest of the campaign at Detroit, 5-2, on Dec. 4. The Stars come into Sunday's contest with a 2-2-0 record in their last four trips to Joe Louis Arena dating back to the start of the 2013-14 season. Defenseman Jordie Benn shared the team lead last season against Detroit, posting three points (0-3=3) in two games against them. Stars captain Jamie Benn registered two points (1-1=2) against the Red Wings in 2014-15. The captain enters Sunday's tilt having tallied three points (2-1=3) in his last four games against Detroit and has 13 career points (4-9=13) in 16 contests against them.
Sunday's matchup at Detroit marks the end of Dallas' four-game road trip. The Stars have posted a 2-1-0 record so far on the trip, posting back-to-back wins over Boston (5-3) and Carolina (4-1) after losing the first game of the trip at Toronto (1-4). Dallas comes into Sunday's contest with wins in six of its last seven road games and owns a 6-2-0 record on the road this season, which is tied for the most road wins in the NHL so far (Montreal). The Stars have posted wins in 10 of their last 12 road games (10-2-0) and 14 of their last 17 (14-3-0) road tilts dating back to last season. Dallas forward Tyler Seguin currently leads the League with seven goals and 14 points (7-7=14) away from home this season, while captain Jamie Benn ranks second with 11 points (5-6=11) on the road in 2015-16.