Red Wings-Stars: Detroit GameDay

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Red Wings-Stars: Detroit GameDay
The top two teams in the Western Conference will face off for the first time this season when the Detroit Red Wings meet the Dallas Stars tonight at Joe Louis Arena.
 
Detroit won the 2006-2007 season series, 3-1, with wins October 27th (4-3), November 27th (2-1), and February 14th (3-1). Dallas won the March 30th meeting, 4-3 in a shootout.
 
The teams will meet again on Saturday in Dallas, and will finish the series with games on February 17th March 13th.

The puck drops at 7:30 ET.

 

Dallas (23-13-4) posted a 10-4-0 record in December. They had their second four-game winning streak of the month snapped by a 1-0 loss to the Predators on New Year’s Eve.

Prior to that, they had beaten the Flames, Canadiens, Wild, and Blues following a 3-2 loss to Vancouver.

The Stars are coming off a four-game homestand and are 11-7-2 on the road.

Mike Ribeiro leads the Stars in goals with 21, and Brendan Morrow is second with 15. Niklas Hagman (14), Mike Modano (12), and Jussi Jokinen (11) also have 10 or more goals.

Defenseman Sergei Zubov leads the team in assists with 30, while Morrow (24) and Ribeiro (22) are the only other Stars to crack the 20-assist plateau.

Ribeiro and Morrow lead the team in overall points with 43 and 39, respectively.

Looks like the Stars will be without Jere Lehtinen (abdomen), Jussi Jokinen (knee), and Phillippe Boucher (shoulder).

Marty Turco will likely start in goal tonight for the Stars. He is 15-8-3 this season with a 2.32 GAA and a .911 save-percentage.

Turco has never won in Detroit as an NHLer, and is 1-8-5 against the Wings in his career.

For the Dallas perspective, see Andrew’s Stars PageRazor with an Edge (official),  Stars Blog (Dallas Morning News), and Stars Scene. (via Japer’s Rink blogroll)

 

The Wings were 12-2-1 in December. Like the Stars, they finished the month with a shutout loss, with theirs coming at the hands of the St. Louis Blues.

That defeat came two nights after an uninspiring 4-2 win over Phoenix in which they were very nearly out-shot.

Tonight’s game is the second of a brief two-game homestand that will be followed by a two-stop road trip this weekend.

Henrik Zetterberg leads the team with 25 goals. Tomas Holmstrom is second with 17.  Four more Wings have 10+ goals: Pavel Datsyuk (15), Valtteri Filppula (13), Dan Cleary (12), and Jiri Hudler (10).

Henrik Zetterberg (back) is slated to return tonight after sitting out in the wake of back spasms suffered during the December 20th game against the Blues.

Tomas Holmstrom (knee bruise) and Kirk Maltby (back) are both still out.

Mark Hartigan has been sent back to Grand Rapids.

Chris Osgood will start in goal tonight.

For more of the Wings’ perspective, see Snapshots, Abel to Yzerman, HockeyTownTodd, Behind the Jersey, No Pun Intended, Red Wings Nation, yzerman is god, Detroit Hockey, LetsGoWings, and Winging It In Motown.

 

This game will be a good test of the Wings’ resiliency. They're coming off their first shutout loss of the season—and a game that followed a weak performance against one of the league’s worst teams.

They’ll be facing one of the NHL's best tonight, and will have to put out a good effort if they want to come out on top.

The Wings should be bolstered both by Chris Osgood’s presence in the net and the return of Henrik Zetterberg, who will no doubt look to reintroduce himself to the scoreboard as well as the ice.

Detroit cannot afford to get into penalty trouble, as the Stars’ power play is fourth in the NHL—and they cannot rely on their own power play to win. Dallas is first in the league in penalty-killing at 87.6 percent.

If the Wings can win the 5-on-5 game and stay out of penalty trouble, they should be in good shape.

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