- Mark Stepneski, ESPNDallas.com
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The Dallas Stars were hoping to get off to a good start against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night, but the Wings scored two early goals and never looked back, defeating the Stars 3-1 to set an NHL record with their 21st straight home victory.
“They’re an impressive club and organization,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “We saw it tonight.”
“The fans gave a standing ovation there at the end. It was great to see,” said Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom. “It’s a great accomplishment for the team.”
Detroit improved to 6-1-1 since the All-Star break and moved four points ahead of Vancouver in the race for first overall in the Western Conference.
The Stars fell to 3-4-1 since the break and remained four points out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.
The Red Wings came out on fire, outshooting the Stars 20-10 in the first period and scoring twice in the first 9:15 to take a 2-0 lead in the game.
“Playing against a team like that is tough when you get down 2-0,” said Stars forward Adam Burish. “Maybe our start, the first 10-15 minutes of the game, probably wasn’t where we wanted it. That was a point of emphasis that we had going into the game. We didn’t have that start. That team is so good that if you have to chase the game against them, 2-0 early, it just makes it difficult for yourself.”
The Red Wings opened the scoring with a power-play goal. With Jamie Benn in the penalty box for goaltender interference, Henrik Zetterberg got the rebound of his own centering pass attempt and put it past Kari Lehtonen to put Detroit up 1-0 at the 7:57 mark into the game.
“We needed a kill there and we didn’t get it,” said Gulutzan.
Less than two minutes later, the Red Wings had a two-goal lead. After Darren Helm bested Benn on a faceoff in the Dallas zone, Brad Stuart beat a screened Lehtonen with a shot from the right boards at 9:15 of the first.
“We started on time tonight,” said Detroit coach Mike Babcock. “The start at home is important and the start on the road is. If you can play from the lead, you are always a better team.”
The Stars were stronger in the second but couldn’t crack the Red Wings defense and goaltender Joey MacDonald.
In the third period, the Stars played almost exclusively in the Detroit zone for the first five minutes but couldn’t get a puck on net. They had only one shot on goal through the first 15 minutes of the third period.
“We did a great job defensively all night,” said MacDonald. “They didn’t a have a hole. They had a lot of shots on bad angles and we did a great job of boxing them out.”
The Red Wings put the game out of reach at 15:11 when Jiri Hudler scored on an odd-man rush.
Burish scored with 33 seconds left, redirecting an Alex Goligoski pass into the net. The goal spoiled MacDonald’s bid for a shutout, but the Stars’ goal of denying the Red Wings’ bid to make history fell short.
“I’ll tip my cap to them. That’s pretty darn good,” said Burish. “But I would have liked to have been the team to snap it, I'll tell you that."
*The Stars were 0-3-1 in the season series against the Red Wings this season.
*Excluding the goals awarded for the shootout, the Red Wings have outscored their opponents 84-31 during their 21-game home winning streak.
*The Stars were 0-2 on the power play in the game and 4-5 on the penalty kill.
*Stars defenseman Sheldon Souray missed his third straight game with a foot injury.
*Stars captain Brenden Morrow missed his sixth straight game with neck/shoulder issues.