NHL Preview: Detroit Red Wings vs. Dallas Stars
The Detroit Red Wings will host the Dallas Stars tonight in their first home game of the 2013 season. Both teams have started the season with 1-1 records, and Joe Louis Arena should be packed and loud as fans in Hockeytown get their first chance to support the team in nine months. The Wings will hold a press conference before the game formally announcing the retirement of long-time winger Tomas Holmstrom.
The Stars are still without Jamie Benn due to contract negotiations, but have been boosted by the offensive output of offseason acquisitions Jaromir Jagr and Ray Whitney. Jagr had two goals and four points in a season opening win over the Phoenix Coyotes, while Whitney added a goal and an assist. Both Stars goaltenders have performed well so far, with Kari Lehtonen stopping 37 shots in the opener and Christopher Nilstorp stopping 31 shots in a tough luck 1-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild. Expect to see Lehtonen back in net for Dallas tonight, and Jimmy Howard for a third consecutive game for the Wings.
After being shut out in their first game, the Red Wings found their offense in a 4-3 shootout win over the Columbus Blue Jackets last night. Two goals came from defensemen (Brian Lashoff and Ian White) while Pavel Datsyuk added the other, on great passes from Niklas Kronwall and Henrik Zetterberg. The Wings recalled Gustav Nyquist from the AHL today, and he will take Mikael Samuelsson’s place on a line with Johan Franzen and Valtteri Filppula. Newly acquired defenseman Kent Huskins is expected to make his Red Wings debut tonight, and should add some size and experience to an injury-depleted defense.
Special teams will be key to tonight’s game, as Detroit has struggled on the penalty kill. The Stars have a potent offense and if they strike quickly it could be a long night for Howard. Damien Brunner flashed some fancy moves in the shootout on Monday, beating Sergei Bobrovsky to seal the win. The Wings need to see him contribute during the game as well, on the top line with Datsyuk and Zetterberg.