Detroit Red Wings (29-15-1, 59 pts) @ Dallas Stars (24-19-1, 49 pts)
7:30 PM CT, January 17, 2012
American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas
Here we go again. Second night of a back-to-back with a tough team coming to town. The Stars' difficulties on these situations is well documented this year. Dallas is 0-6-0 in games like this so far on the year and have been outscored 24-8. Whether it was home or road (though 5 of these were road games), Dallas just didn't seem to have the energy on these second nights and it gets only worse in this game without the services of Benn and Ribeiro.
The Stars have actually played the Red Wings in a back-to-back before this season. It was way back on Nov. 12 in Detroit, a game that Dallas lost 5-2. Alex Goligoski had just gotten injured in the game before and the Stars were starting the human sieve, Andrew Raycroft.
While tonight's starter, Richard Bachman, will inspire a lot more confidence than Raycroft, the lack of offense on this team could easily be this team's downfall tonight. Tom Wandell, Vernon Fiddler and whoever else is left as centers need to find a little oomph tonight and try to make some plays to get the wingers on this team some good shots. Eriksson and Ryder can do a lot on their own but getting the puck to them in good postions can do worlds of good for this team.
One piece of good news for Dallas tonight is that Tomas Vincour could make his return to the team. He was activated from the IR today and recent call-up Francis Wathier was sent back down. Either Vincour returns to the lineup in his place or the Stars go with 7 defensemen today. Vincour has been out with a knee injury since Dec. 15 against the NY Islanders.
Bachman gets the start in goal tonight. His last game was a 4-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Jan. 7.
Dallas will be without Benn (appendectomy), Ribeiro (slight MCL tear) and Philip Larsen (concussion)
more after the jump
Detroit enters tonight's game having won 4 of its last 5 (though three of those wins were in overtime/shootouts) including a 5-0 beatdown of the Buffalo Sabres last night. Like Dallas, the Red Wings are playing on the second night of a back-to-bac, but unlike Dallas they have fared well in this situation. They are 7-3-0 on the latter night of a back-to-back (one of these was a 5-2 win over Dallas). Each loss that they had was on th road so there is a good measure of hope for the Stars tonight.
Pavel Datsyuk is on a roll for the Wings. Since the beginning of December, Datsyuk has only had 3 games (out of 21) in which he did not register a point. That's 18 of 21 games in which he has a point (18!). He enters this game with a point in seven straight, culminating in three assists last night. Whoever goes against his line will be in for a tough ride tonight.
Detroit will be without Mike Commodore (knee) and Patrick Eaves (broken jaw).
I would expect Jimmy Howard to get the start tonight. He's 5-1-0 playing on consecutive days this season. Only one of those was on the road, but he won that game.
Notes and thoughts:
- Dallas is 13-8-1 at home this year. Detroit is 11-13-0 on the road.
- Detroit has won both of the previous meetings this year. 5-2 at Detroit and 5-4 in Dallas.
- Detroit has allowed a power-play goal in three straight road games (5 of 8 in that span). Their last road game without allowing a PP goal was Jan. 3 against the Stars.