Neal scores 2, Stars defeat Detroit

DALLAS (AP) Defenseman Karlis Skrastins broke out in a big way for the Stars.

After 32 games without a goal since signing with Dallas, Skrastins scored two for the first time in his career, helping the Stars end ended Detroit’s four-game winning streak with a 4-3 win over the Red Wings on Saturday.

Skrastins fired over the left shoulder of goaltender Jimmy Howard for the go-ahead goal 1:16 into the third period. He earlier assisted on one of James Neal’s two goals.

“I’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” Skrastins said. “I’ve had a couple of good opportunities the last couple games when the puck wasn’t going in. Today was one of those days when the hockey gods were on my side and I had some luck. It was exciting, but the most important thing was that we won the game.”

The Stars are 5-0-2 in their last seven home games and have beaten the Red Wings in the last four meetings in Dallas.

Tomas Holmstrom, Pavel Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi scored for Detroit.

Dallas signed Skrastins in the offseason to bolster its defense, and the Latvian was without a goal in his first 32 games until Saturday, when he had a career high with three points.

“He had a big smile on his face,” Neal said. “He’s usually a shot-blocking machine. He doesn’t score that much so it was nice to get two big goals from him.”

The Red Wings were without injured regulars Johan Franzen, Valtteri Filppula, Jason Williams, Niklas Kronwall, Dan Cleary, Andreas Lilja and Jonathan Ericsson.

Henrik Zetterberg became the latest addition to that list when the star center hurt his left shoulder in Thursday night’s 3-0 victory over Tampa Bay.

“When you don’t win, it’s hard to say you had a good enough effort,” Detroit defenseman Brad Stuart said.

Marty Turco made 30 saves for Dallas to improve his career record against Detroit to 6-12-5.

Holmstrom got the first period’s only goal at 17:22, sweeping a loose puck into an empty net after Turco made a sliding save on Bertuzzi.

Skrastins tied it at 1 at 1:40 of the second period with his first goal since Feb. 5 when he converted Mike Ribeiro’s centering pass.

Neal’s goal off a backhanded setup by Ribeiro gave Dallas the lead at 12:14 of the second before Datsyuk’s deflection trickled through Turco’s pads at 15:39 to tie it.

Neal’s rebound put Dallas back in front 1 minute and 6 seconds after Datsyuk’s goal, then Bertuzzi tied it at 3 with 1:00 left in the second.

Detroit scored three goals for the fifth straight game.

“We scored enough goals to win, but we gave up too many easy ones,” coach Mike Babcock said.

NOTES: Howard was coming off his first career shutout on Thursday night. … Detroit C Darren Helm was back in the lineup after missing two games with a left wrist injury. … Dallas is without D Trevor Daley (shoulder) and Mark Fistric (head). … Rookie D Maxime Fortunus was called up from the Texas Stars of the AHL on Friday and made his NHL debut against the Red Wings.

Updated December 19, 2009