Stars-Red Wings Preview
The Detroit Red Wings are on the brink of NHL history, but they claim they're not giving it much attention.
Perhaps it's fitting that their current goaltender is used to being overlooked.
With 20 consecutive victories on home ice, Detroit (38-17-2) has tied the NHL record set by Boston in 1929-30 and matched by Philadelphia in 1975-76. The Red Wings became the third team to reach that mark by beating the Flyers 4-3 on Sunday.
"It would mean a lot, but to be honest we haven't really paid that much attention to it," captain Nicklas Lidstrom said of the record. "We've just been going about our everyday business."
Detroit has also won the most games in the NHL regardless of location this season, and leads the New York Rangers by one point in the race for the Presidents' Trophy.
"This has been one of the most consistent teams I've ever coached as far as just bringing an effort each and every day," coach Mike Babcock said.
The consistency has continued even with an understudy between the pipes. A veteran of six NHL seasons divided among four teams, MacDonald has gone 3-1-1 with a 1.87 goals-against average since being recalled from Grand Rapids of the AHL after All-Star Jimmy Howard broke his finger earlier this month.
MacDonald's three victories have all come at home, including a 26-save performance Sunday.
"I'm just taking it game by game and not really thinking about the streak," MacDonald told the Red Wings' official website. "Sure it's there in the back of your mind all of the time, but just go in and try doing what I've been doing, which is build on every single game and things will take care of themselves."
Johan Franzen has 11 goals during the home winning streak, accounting for half of his team-high season total of 22. He netted the eventual game-winner 52 seconds into the third period Sunday. Franzen also set up Pavel Datsyuk's tally Sunday to earn his 10th assist of the dominant run at Joe Louis Arena.
Datsyuk has a team-high 25 points during the streak, but has just one assist in three meetings with Dallas (28-24-3) this season.
That lack of production hasn't mattered for the Wings, who have won all three games against the Stars and are going for a sweep of the season series Tuesday. It would mark the first season sweep of Dallas by Detroit since winning all five matchups in lockout-shortened 1994-95.
Franzen has been more productive with two goals and one assist this season versus the Stars, including one of each in a 5-2 home victory Nov. 12 - the fourth win of Detroit's streak.
Dallas gave up the first two goals en route to a 4-2 home loss to Los Angeles on Sunday, its second straight defeat.
"It's important for us to show up every night," center Mike Ribeiro told the Stars' official website. "Hopefully, we can get out of this month on the winning side, and get the most points that we can have to look forward to March."
Right wing Michael Ryder has three goals in his last four games to increase his team-leading total to 21. However, he has failed to score in four career visits to Detroit.
Kari Lehtonen, who is likely to be in net for the Stars, is 2-1-0 with a 2.01 GAA and .954 save percentage in three career visits to Joe Louis Arena. He stopped 38 shots in Dallas' 4-1 victory last Feb. 24.