Wings look to extend road win streak to five
Dallas, TX - A run of four straight regulation losses has been rare for the Dallas Stars. Wins against the Detroit Red Wings have been even harder to come by.
Dallas looks to avoid a season-high fourth consecutive loss on Saturday when it hosts the Red Wings in the second meeting between the teams in four days.
A three-game skid has dropped the Stars (23-15-4) out of sole possession of first place in the Pacific Division, and follows a stretch where they won eight of nine. Dallas lost four straight (0-2-2) last season, but hasn't dropped four in a row in regulation since a five-game skid from Nov. 30-Dec. 10, 2003.
The Stars began their current skid with a 1-0 loss to Nashville on Monday before their struggles against the Red Wings continued with a 4-1 defeat Wednesday at Joe Louis Arena.
Detroit (30-8-3) has won five of its last six meetings (5-0-1) with Dallas, and is 14-4-2 with five ties in the series since the start of the 2000-01 season.
One problem for the Stars against the Red Wings has been the play of goaltender Marty Turco, who stopped 22 of 26 shots in Wednesday's loss. He is 1-9-0 with five ties and a 2.98 goals-against average in 16 career starts versus Detroit.
"You don't have to remind me," Turco said of his lack of success against the Red Wings. "It's not just here, it's anywhere."
Although Chris Osgood made 23 saves and lowered his league-leading GAA to 1.71 in Wednesday's win, he likely will serve as Dominik Hasek's backup Saturday. The Red Wings have alternated starts between the two goalies lately.
Hasek is 4-0-1 with one shutout and a 1.77 GAA in his last five starts against Dallas.
While Detroit has been off since Wednesday, the Stars gave up four first-period goals Thursday in a 6-3 loss at Minnesota.
Stu Barnes, Matt Niskanen and Steve Ott scored for Dallas, which played without injured forwards Jussi Jokinen and Jere Lehtinen, and defensemen Sergei Zubov and Philippe Boucher.
"For us to be a good team, we have to have all the pieces in place," coach Dave Tippett said. "And we're missing a lot of pieces right now. It's just as simple as that."
Only Zubov, who has an upper-body injury, could potentially return Saturday.
Dallas' top line of Brenden Morrow, Mike Ribeiro and Antti Miettinen has combined for no goals and two assists during the three-game skid. The trio combined for seven goals and nine assists in the previous three contests.
"Our ability with the puck lately is not really good," center Mike Modano said. "Play with the puck, passing, it just seems to be a real struggle to get the puck up and down the ice. It's not going to spell too much success for us."
The Red Wings, who improved to 15-2-1 in their last 18 games with Wednesday's victory, have outscored opponents 17-5 during a four-game road win streak.
They reached the halfway point of the season with a league-leading 63 points and are on pace for 126, which would be the second-highest total in franchise history.
"The guys have been real professional the first half," coach Mike Babcock said. "You win 30 in 41 games, you've got to be doing something right."
Leading scorer Henrik Zetterberg had two assists in his return to Detroit's lineup Wednesday after missing five games with back spasms. Tomas Holmstrom, second on the team with 17 goals, is expected to miss his seventh straight game with a knee injury, but could return Sunday at Chicago.