Dallas Stars (11-4-0, 22 pts) @ Detroit Red Wings (8-5-1, 17 pts)
6:00 PM CT, November 12, 2011
Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan
The Stars have a short rest from last night's game as they take on the Detroit Red Wings on the final game in their four-game road trip tonight. Dallas is coming off a tough game last night, one in which they lost Alex Goligoski to a broken thumb for up to 4 weeks.
Things don't get any easier with Dallas going to Joe Lewis Arena. The Wings had a stumble the last couple of weeks, losing six games in a row, but they've turned it around and won their last three games. They've won those three games by a combined margin of 13-2 and shut out two of those teams, the Anaheim Ducks and the Edmonton Oilers.
The Wings have been led by three guys in that three game stretch, Johan Franzen, Jimmy Howard and the ageless Nicklas Lidstrom. Franzen has four goals and three assists while Lidstrom has three goals and an assist during those three games. Howard has stopped 68 of 70 shots.
Franzen leads the Wings team in points (14), goals (8) and is third on the team in assists (6). He's scored five of his goals from the PP which is tied for first in the NHL so Dallas needs to stay out of the penalty box tonight.
Detroit has a solid defense, 5th in the NHL, and they are excellent at hope. They have four shut-outs this year, three on home ice. Make no mistake though, the game tonight will be decided by the special teams units from both teams. Detroit has the second best home PP in the league with eight goals scored, but has allowed nine goals when they are on the penalty-kill (second worst in the NHL). Dallas needs to cash in the chances that they get and try to somehow hold on when they are on the PK.
Jamie Benn will get one of his toughest tests of the season when he goes head-to-head against Pavel Datsyuk tonight. Datsyuk is the best two-way forward in the game today and his line should be going up against the Benn line. If the Benn line has trouble scoring tonight, the Stars will have a very hard time winning this game.
Dallas was very good against the Wings last season, going 3-1-0 and outscoring the Wings 15-11 in their season series. Jimmy Howard has had his troubles against the Stars in his career, going 2-4-1 with a 2.42 GAA and a .915 save percentage in his career against Dallas.
Andrew Raycroft should get the start tonight for Dallas so that Kari can get a rest. Adam Pardy should get ice time tonight after taking a rest yesterday.
Steve Ott (hip) and Alex Goligoski (broken thumb) are out for this game for Dallas.
For the Wings, Todd Bertuzzi (illness) is out for this game.
- With Goligoski out for a while (up to 4 weeks) with a broken thumb, Philip Larsen was called up from the Texas Stars. Larsen plays a similar game to Goligoski and should take over his spot on the PP unit as well. He led all of the Texas Stars defensmen in scoring with 9 assists and a goal in 10 games this season. He's played with the big club before in his career, so nerves shouldn't be a problem. He needs to be effective if he takes Goligoski's spot on the PP unit.
- Remember when the Stars PK unit was one of the best in the league? Yeah, neither do I. Dallas has now allowed seven (7!) PP goals in the last four games and the Stars have now allowed 14 PP goals on the season. In four games, the PK unit has doubled the number of goals allowed. That puts them 5th worst in the NHL, four goals behind the league worst Winnipeg Jets.
- Eric Nystrom looks to continue his run as an all-of-the-sudden scoring machine. He's had a goal in four straight games and five of the last six.