The last time the Dallas Stars met the Detroit Red Wings, the Stars were flying high en route to a perfect 4-0-0 start to the season. The power play was humming, the forwards were scoring, and the defending was in typical form.
How the mighty have fallen.
The Stars now find themselves sitting at sixth place in the Discover Central Division, a mere three points ahead of the cellar-dwelling Detroit Red Wings. Over the last 10 games the Red Wings and Stars have each recorded 10 points, albeit in different fashions. To make matters a bit more difficult for the Stars, the Red Wings are a far better home team than they are a road team. At home, Detroit are 6-7-3, while the Stars are a disappointing 3-5-2 on the road.
With that being said, the Stars must take advantage of this match-up with Red Wings to at least give themselves a chance to claw back into the playoff picture. A win tonight would go a long way in setting the tone for a critically important road trip.
The Stars opened the first period by building a 4-1 shot advantage, aided by an early power play. However, the Red Wings were able to handle the Stars’ early chances and kept the game scoreless as the teams approached the halfway point of the period.
The Stars nearly opened the scoring when Jonathan Bernier made a lazy play behind his net, giving Alexander Radulov an open net. Unfortunately for the Stars, the Red Wings goaltender was able to scramble back to his crease, denying the Stars the first goal of the game.
As the game approached the five-minute mark, the teams found themselves skating at four-on-four. The segment started slowly however, Anthony Mantha hit the Stars line with speed, backing off the Stars’ defense. Mantha made a slick drop pass to a trailing Robby Fabri, who wired the puck past Jake Oettinger to open the scoring.
Score: Dallas 0, Detroit 1
Shots: Dallas 13, Detroit 4
After a period where the Stars asserted themselves but had nothing to show for it, the Red Wings came out and decided to take play to the Stars. The Red Wings were aided by early icing calls against the Stars and an adjustment to pressure the Stars’ defense corp in the offensive zone.
The Stars found themselves in a deeper hole when Fabbri converted a wrist shot over the glove of Oettinger from distance. The goal was the product of a poor turnover by the Stars, sending the Red Wings in transition. The goal that made the game 2-0 Detroit came after a lull in action in which both teams weren’t generating much to speak of.
Late in the frame the Stars were handed an opportunity on the power play, of which the first half of the sequence yielded significant scoring chances for them. However, the Stars failed to score on the chance, dropping Dallas to 0-for-2 on the night. Late in the period following their power play, Bernier was involved in a serious collision behind the net, forcing Thomas Greiss into action for Detroit.
Score: Dallas 0, Detroit 2
Shots: Dallas 22, Detroit 11
The opening minute of the final frame was an eventful sequence as the Stars’ top line came very close to cutting the Detroit lead in half. Dickinson lost the puck just outside of the crease and was thus unable to deposit the puck behind the Detroit netminder.
Just after the five-minute mark of the period, the Stars drew their third chance on the power play in the game. The Stars went right to work, setting up the desired set giving Jamie Benn a clean look at the net. However, Benn’s bid was thwarted, resulting in a clearing attempt by the Red Wings. There were some excellent looks on the attempt, but the Stars came up empty for the third time in the night.
Following the Red Wings’ kill of the Stars’ power play, the Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin poked a puck loose along the wall, earning himself a breakaway. His initial shot was stopped by Oettinger, but Fabbri cleaned up the rebound and recorded his third goal of the night for a hat trick.
Immediately after the Fabbri goal, Roope Hintz converted a goal at the other end, pulling the Stars back to within two goals.
The Red Wings saw their first power-play attempt of the night when the Stars took a very necessary hooking penalty to deny the Red Wings a tap-in goal. The Red Wings had some quality looks and zone time, but the Stars’ penalty kill was solid and helped the Stars avoid a back-breaking fourth goal.
With Oettinger pulled for the extra attacker, Jason Robertson rotated to the top of the blue line, ripped a puck from 60 feet off of Dickinson to pull the Stars within a goal with just over a minute remaining. The goal was the Stars’ third extra-attacker goal in the last two games.
The Stars scrambled desperately trying to find the tying goal, but Alexander Radulov failed to register a shot in the dying seconds.
Final Score: Dallas 2, Detroit 3
Final Shots: Dallas 40, Detroit 21
The Stars finish up the series in Detroit on Saturday, March 20th, at 6 p.m. CST.