Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Stars face a stiff test in Detroit on Tuesday
By Mark Stepneski
FRISCO -- The Dallas Stars are back on the road again, and this time it’s a big test as they head to Detroit, where the Red Wings are on the verge of making NHL history.
The Red Wings have won 20 straight at Joe Louis Arena, tied for the record for consecutive wins at home. If the Red Wings beat the Stars on Tuesday, they will set a record.
The Stars, meanwhile, are stuck in neutral. They are 3-3-1 since the All-Star break and have been treading water in the race for a playoff spot. They were three points out of a spot coming out of the break and are four points out after Monday’s game.
The Stars see Tuesday’s tilt in Detroit as an opportunity to get on track.
“We need to get on [a roll],” Stars defenseman Mark Fistric said. “When we go into Detroit, we've got to put all that aside, play Dallas Stars hockey and have a good working effort. We need to play a full 60 minutes. We had a good effort against them at home the last time. We're right there, and it's a game we want to go in there and win.”
The Stars are 0-2-1 against the Red Wings this season. In that last game -- Jan. 17 in Dallas -- the Stars played well, and only a goal that bounced in off a Stars defender allowed the game to get into overtime, where the Red Wings eventually prevailed in a shootout.
This time the challenge will be to give the Red Wings a game on their home ice, where they haven’t lost since early November, and are averaging 4.1 goals per game and allowing just 1.5 during the streak.
“It’s going to be exciting. It’s going to be a huge task to go in there and get the win. We just have to believe and work hard,” Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen said. “Everybody knows they’ve been winning all the games there lately, but we took them last time to the overtime and shootout. We just have to work hard and score more goals than them.”
The Red Wings' game at home hasn't shown many holes; both the power play and penalty kill have been good. The Red Wings are outshooting their opponents by a wide margin. Sunday's game against Philadelphia was only the second time the Red Wings have allowed more than two goals during the streak.
“We have to make sure we play a real hardworking game. We have to play a real smart game. They have a lot of skill, and they play a hardworking game as well," Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said. "The more time that you can play in their zone and limit their creativity through the neutral zone, the better chance you give yourself. We have to be real smart with our puck management against that group.”
The Red Wings’ home streak
*With their 4-3 win over Philadelphia on Sunday, the Red Wings tied the NHL record with 20 consecutive home wins.
*The 1929-30 Boston Bruins and 1975-76 Philadelphia Flyers also won 20 straight at home.
*The Boston team won two games during its streak in overtime, which at that time was 10 minutes and was not sudden death.
*There was no overtime during the regular season when the Flyers put together their home win streak.
*The Red Wings have won 16 games in regulation, one in four-on-four overtime and three in a shootout during their streak.
*Excluding the goals awarded for a shootout, the Red Wings have outscored the opposition 81-30 during the streak.
*The Red Wings have scored four or more goals in 12 of the 20 wins.
*The Red Wings have allowed more than two goals only twice during the streak.
*The Stars were win No. 4 during the streak, falling 5-2 to the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena on Nov. 12.
*Detroit’s last loss at home was a 4-1 loss to Calgary on Nov. 3.