Dallas Stars (28-24-3, 59 pts) @ Detroit Red Wings (38-17-2, 78 pts)
6:30 PM CT, February 14, 2012
Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan
There's going to be a lot of talk about the Wings and their pursuit of history today in going for 21 straight wins at home. Didn't we all learn from Blackjack? Try to hard to hit 21 and all you'll do is end up busting. The Stars get a wonderful chance to do exactly that tonight, bust up the Wings festivities and put an end to their incessant gloating.
If Dallas hopes to win, they need to play better than what they showed on Sunday against the LA Kings. They cannot start slow and Kari Lehtonen needs to be on top of his game today. There's been way too many instances in the past month where Gulutzan talks about how the team did not have any energy throughout the game.
He knows how this team failing and yet the message never sticks with the players. The same problems keep showing up. Turnovers, missed defensive assignments and a propensity to overpass the puck on the man-advantage. Those problems keep popping up and that's why Dallas is yo-yoing through the schedule this past month. They haven't won three straight games since since a small stretch from Dec. 10 - Dec. 15. Since then, Dallas has been able to string together consecutive wins only twice.
Detroit is dealing with some major injuries so there will not be many better chances to steal a win from them. As the Wings are so hated by most of the hockey community, Dallas has a duty tonight to stop that train.
Kari Lehtonen should be the starter tonight. In his career at the Joe, he is 2-1-0 with a 2.01 GAA and a .954 save percentage.
Dallas will be without Brenden Morrow for another week it looks like due to his neck problems. Sheldon Souray will also miss this game due to a foot injury caused by blocking a shot.
more after the jump
All, and I mean all, the attention will be on Detroit tonight. A struggling Stars team comes into their house at a moment when they are going for a historic 21 wins. The pressure is all on Detroit to complete what they started three months ago while Dallas might as well just be referred to as that other team that will be doing some skating tonight.
If Detroit gets two or more goals, it will be tough for Dallas to get the win with the terrible offense that they are sporting. The defensemen cannot lose guys like Pavel Datsyuk and Johann Franzen in front of the net or this game will get out of hand quickly.
The Wings are a bit different nowadays however. Jimmy Howard is missing an extended period of action due to a broken finger and Joey MacDonald is now the Wings starter between the pipes. He's played in only five games this season (all of them this month) and has gone 3-1-1 with both losses, of course, occurring on the road. Tonight will be his first career game against the Stars.
Detroit is without the aforementioned Howard due to a broken finger. Also missing this game will be forwards Dan Cleary (knee) and Patrick Eaves (concussion).
Notes and thoughts:
- Detroit is a wondrous 23-2-1 at home this season. They also have the second best goal differential in the NHL at +47. Only Boston (+63) is better this year.
- Dallas is 13-13-1 on the road.
- The PK for Dallas has been terrible lately, allowing at least one PP goal to the opposition in the last three games.
- The PP for Dallas has returned to its usual failings as well. It has gone 1 of 14 (7%) in the last four games and at times, it has not even looked like Dallas has a man-advantage.
- Michael Ryder has three goals in his last four games and continues to be the only consistent goal scorer on the team.
- Jiri Hudler has enjoyed playing Dallas this season. He has three goals and one assist in the three previous matchups this season.
- The three previous game between these two teams have been pretty clean. There's not a lot of penalties, though a majority go to the Wings (which is to be expected).
- November 12 at Joe Lewis Arena: Dallas 2 - Detroit 5
- January 3 at American Airlines Center: Detroit 5 - Dallas 4
- January 17 at American Airlines Center: Detroit 3 - Dallas 2 (SO)
|Goals per game||2.7||4.3|
|Shots per game||27.7||34.3|
|Hits per game||28.7||17.3|
|PIM per game||10.5||6.5|
|Power Play||2 of 5 (40%)||0 of 8 (0%)|
|Penalty Kill||8 of 8 (100%)||3 of 5 (60%)|