Matchup: Detroit Red Wings vs. Dallas Stars
Venue: American Airlines Center; Dallas, TX
Time: 8:00 PM EST
Television: Detroit- FSD; Dallas- FS-Southwest
The Detroit Red Wings (18-14-10, 46 points, 5th place Atlantic Division) return to the indoors for their first game after the cold and snowy Winter Classic which saw them lose in familiar fashion in a shootout. The loss was the Red Wings third in their past six games. Tonight’s game against Dallas kicks off a five game road trip for the Red Wings who have posted an Eastern Conference best 12-4-3 record on the road this season. After tonight’s game, the Red Wings will head out west for three games in California before heading back to the East Coast to New York. If the Red Wings are able to continue to put together solid play on the road, they will be able to continue to hold off the teams behind them that are fast approaching in the standings.
The Dallas Stars (20-13-7, 47 points, 4th place Central Division) come into tonight’s game two points behind Phoenix for the final playoff spot in the extremely tough Western Conference. The Stars have won four of their past seven games and look to wrap up their final game of a five game home stand with a win over the Red Wings tonight. After tonight’s game, the Stars will hit the road for three games before heading home for three consecutive games. While Dallas has not been terrible at home this season, they have only been able to muster a 9-5-5 record in 19 games played there so far this season. That, coupled with the Red Wings good road play, could spell trouble for Dallas tonight.
The Red Wings will be starting Jimmy Howard in net tonight after getting a three day rest since the Red Wings last game. Despite Howard’s strong play in the Winter Classic, he still earned the loss in the shootout. The Winter Classic was Howard’s second game back from injury, so the solid play in bad conditions was a good sign as the Red Wings head down the stretch.
Dallas will counter with Dan Ellis in net on Saturday. The start will be the first for Ellis since he earned the win in a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on December 17th. Ellis is a familiar face for the Red Wings who saw him a few times when he was with former divisional opponent Nashville for three seasons.
Follow on Twitter: @BrettDAngelo