As has been the norm this season, the Dallas Stars just can't seem to build any momentum. Not from one month to the next, certainly. Not from one week to another- Not even on a quick trip out West from game-to-game.
Six goals at Staples Center and less-than-stellar goaltending was an interesting look on this team. It was the look everyone expected when the season began. The look they had all last season.
Fast forward to Anaheim and it was stellar goaltending without offense- The look they've had, surprisingly, for most of this season. Their five-on-five save percentage increase is a story unheralded as it sits in the shadow of the league's used-to-be most dangerous threat, diminished.
Halfway through, now- The latter, in Anaheim, seems to be what they are more than the former. And the loss stings as more bodies leave the lineup.
Jamie Oleksiak will miss "some time" with a hand injury- The Stars have eight defensemen so this is not terribly concerning, though there are those who will take up arms on either side that line. One Jamie's departure, though, could be another's return as the move to IR makes room for the Captain, if he's available, that, is.
Patrik Nemeth was scheduled to play with the Texas Stars last night so that would seem to point to Stephen Johns getting back into the lineup. Without a practice Wednesday after the back-to-back there's little info on which to speculate, so morning skate will be key later today.
Antti Niemi seems to have earned another start, though, we'll speculate. Though he could not overcome the Stars' special teams which continue to be anything but.
"When you're on a back-to-back, the special teams decide it," Jason Spezza said after Tuesday's contest- "and we didn't get a power-play goal, and they did."
The Red Wings, like the Stars, have dropped four of their last five. The latest was an overtime loss to the Chicago Blackhawks as the Stars were in Anaheim. Duncan Keith scored on the power play less than a minute into the extra-frame.
Also like the Stars, their only win in their last five games came at Staples Center against the Kings, who are apparently not all that difficult to defeat, though the Wings did it much more soundly with a 4-0 margin.
Further comparisons to the Stars, you ask? Sure. How about special teams? The Wings' penalty kill is very middle of the road, and allowed two power play goals on Tuesday. Their power play? As they say in New Jersey, forget about it. Last in the NHL at 11.1% and every bit that bad recently as it's failed to connect in 12 of their last 13 games.
On the road they've been bipolar. Seven times they've been held to a goal or less (shutout three times). In their other road games they've scored with ease at a clip of 3.38 in the other 13. Lately it's been the high scoring variety- 3, 3, 4, 0, 4, 3, and 3 on the road in their last seven away from home.
That shutout in there? At Anaheim. Like the Stars. These teams look more and more alike the more you dig.
Detroit has a pretty good injury list, too- One of the few we've seen this season that can rival what the Stars have gone through this year. Niklas Kronwall is out. Brendan Smith, Jimmy Howard, and Darren Helm join him on injured reserve and should be out tonight.
- Petr Mrazek
- Jared Coreau
From Stars PR:
The Dallas Stars and Detroit Red Wings meet for the second and final time of the 2016-17 regular season on Thursday night at American Airlines Center. In the first game of the season on Nov. 29, the Red Wings defeated the Stars, 3-1, in the final meeting between the two clubs at Joe Louis Arena. Defenseman Esa Lindell registered the lone goal for the Stars (1-0=1) with forwards Tyler Seguin (0-1=1) and Cody Eakin (0-1=1) each adding assists. Goaltender Kari Lehtonen recorded the loss for the Stars, stopping 17-of-19 shots faced. Dallas has points in three of the last four games against the Red Wings (1-1-2), including a two-game point streak (0-0-2) against Detroit at American Airlines Center. The Stars are looking for a win on home ice against the Red Wings for the first time since the 2010-11 season (last: 4-1, Oct. 14, 2010). Forward Patrick Sharp leads all Stars skaters in points (37) and games played (50) against the Red Wings franchise.
SEGS N' BACON
Forward Tyler Seguin has points in six of his last eight games (5-4=9) and 12 points (5-7=12) over his last 12 games. Seguin ranks eighth in the NHL with 41 points (15-26=41) in 42 games this season and is tied for seventh in the League with 26 assists. Additionally among League leaders, the forward ranks fourth in shots (149), is tied for ninth in power play goals (7) and shares 10th in power play points (15). Seguin is riding a four-game point streak (4-2=6) at American Airlines Center and is tied for 14th in the NHL with 20 points (6-14=20) over 21 games at home this season. The native of Brampton, Ont. has points in three of his last four games (2-2=4) against the Red Wings. In eight career games against Detroit, Seguin has five points (3-2=5).