A February that began with so much promise ends with the Dallas Stars licking their wounds a bit after another defeat Saturday at the hands of the New York Rangers and their fans at the American Airlines Center.
"That was probably more of a feel of how the games are going to be down the stretch," Jason Spezza said of the defeat. "That's a good defensive team. After we battled back to tie the game, it was frustrating to not at least get a point."
Without a point or two to show the Stars watched the Blackhawks pass them by again yesterday as Chicago beat the best in the league in the Washington Capitals. Later St. Louis dominated Carolina to pull within a point of Dallas.
So points would be beneficial. Enter the Detroit Red Wings.
The Stars did not practice Sunday so it is unclear if Alex Hemsky will rejoin his teammates. He left the game after the first period Saturday and Ruff noted he was in pain. It was called an illness. Travis Moen, he added, is ready to return and would likely be in the lineup if Hemsky cannot return.
A starter in net is unknown. Kari Lehtonen took the loss Saturday and neither netminder has grabbed an obvious number-one role of late.
The Red Wings are in a good way coming out of their outdoor game against the Avalanche with a 3-2 win thanks to a Brad Richards game-winner. They've earned points in nine of their last 11 games and look solid for a playoff spot, up six points on the Flyers and firmly in a wild card spot.
With a win they could jump the Bruins and move into the Atlantic's top three. They're 5-2-3 in their last 10 and have earned points in 20 of their 30 road games this season.
There is one thing that's not been going well for Detroit lately and that's a power play that has not scored a goal since Valentines day. In the six games since they've failed to convert in their last 17 attempts.
New York had a three-game futility streak going with their power play until they scored 4 seconds into a delay-of-game call on Jason Demers. So that's a bit of history to try to avoid this evening with a unit that's due for one. Or several.
The Wings participated mildly in the trade frenzy currently gripping the league when they sent Jakub Kindl to Florida Saturday for a sixth round pick. The move frees up $2 million in cap space for a team that has five RFA's to sign this summer.
The loss of Kindl should not inhibit the Red Wing defense, if the tone of GM Ken Holland is any indication.
"I think Jakub is an NHL defenseman, he's done a nice job on the second power-play unit when we put him in," he told media Satutrday. "He just hasn't been able to establish himself."
Their lineup or something close to it should be this-
These teams met in a 4-1 Dallas win on November 8th. Val Nichushkin scored the game winner and Kari Lehtonen stopped 21 of just 22 pucks thrown his way. The Stars managed just 26 shots in the win.
From Stars PR:
The Dallas Stars and Detroit Red Wings meet on Monday night at American Airlines Center for the second and last time during the 2015-16 regular season. The Stars will look to snap a six-game winless streak against the Red Wings at home (0-4-2) and record the team's first win at American Airlines Center since Oct. 14, 2010. Dallas has collected points in two-straight contests against Detroit (1-0-1), including a 4-1 victory at Joe Louis Arena in the first meeting of the season on Nov. 8. Three Stars registered multi-point games including forward Tyler Seguin (1-1=2), forward Patrick Sharp (1-1=2) and defenseman John Klingberg (0-2=2). Goaltender Kari Lehtonen stopped 21-of-22 shots faced in the game to record his sixth win of the 2015-16 season.
FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE
Stars forward Valeri Nichushkin recorded a goal (1-0=1) and registered a career-best seven shots on goal Saturday night against the New York Rangers and now is riding a three-game point streak (2-1=3). Nichushkin now has two three-game point streaks this season and with a point in his next game, the forward would establish a new career-long point streak. The native of Chelyabinsk, Russia was selected by Dallas in the first round (10th overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft and has recorded 24 points (8-16-24) in 60 games this season. Nichushkin made his NHL debut on Oct. 3, 2013 and became the youngest player in Dallas Stars history, and the fifth-youngest in franchise history, to skate in a game. In three career games against the Red Wings, the forward has registered two points (1-1=2) including the game-winning goal (1-0=1) in the first game this season against Detroit on Nov. 8.