Wings look to hand Stars sixth straight home loss of series

Jimmy Howard made 32 saves Wednesday for his first victory in three starts after missing a month with a groin injury.

Dennis Wierzbicki

An injury to Tyler Seguin has left the Dallas Stars without their leading scorer as they attempt to jump multiple teams in the Western Conference playoff race.

Ales Hemsky’s return could provide a boost, though, as Dallas looks to avoid dropping a sixth straight home meeting with the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night.

The Stars (27-23-8) already faced a tall task to qualify for the postseason before Seguin suffered a lower-body injury in a win over Florida on Feb. 13 that will keep him out two to five more weeks.

Dallas sputtered offensively Thursday against San Jose and allowed the game’s first three goals in a 5-2 defeat, the Stars’ second loss in three games without Seguin.

Dallas sits in 11th place in the West, six points behind the Sharks for the final wild-card spot.

"We’re going to move on," said forward Jamie Benn, who assisted on goals by Trevor Daley and Erik Cole. "We’ve got another big game coming up Saturday and Sunday (at Minnesota). We can’t be dwelling on this one."

Patrick Eaves hasn’t played since suffering a concussion against Florida, and Hemsky has been out since leaving the first period of that contest with a lower-body injury.

Coach Lindy Ruff is optimistic Hemsky will be ready to face Detroit.

"He was close (Thursday) so he’ll probably be a player on Saturday," Ruff said. "Back-to-back, I don’t know, but he should be a player Saturday."

The Stars have lost eight of 10 overall meetings with the Red Wings and haven’t beaten them at home since Oct. 14, 2010. They fell 5-1 in Detroit on Dec. 4 as Darren Helm scored twice and Pavel Datsyuk had a goal and an assist.

Helm scored in regulation while Tomas Tatar added a goal and the shootout winner in Wednesday’s 3-2 victory over Chicago as Detroit (32-14-10) began a six-game trip by ending a three-game skid.

Jimmy Howard made 32 saves for his first victory in three starts after missing a month with a groin injury.

"Giving away points (last Saturday in a 5-4 shootout loss) against Winnipeg and then losing a hard fought game (2-0 on Monday) against Montreal can get you upset a little bit, but starting off the road trip with two points is a good feeling," Howard said. "Now we can get ready for Dallas because this road trip is going to get a lot harder."

The Red Wings sit four points behind Tampa Bay for second place in the Atlantic Division, but they have four games in hand. They’ll face Pacific-leading Anaheim on Monday before matchups with playoff hopefuls Los Angeles and San Jose.

Detroit ends its trip next Saturday against NHL-best Nashville. Howard, who is 4-0-1 with a 1.58 goals-against average in his last five starts against Dallas after making 22 saves in this season’s first meeting, could be in net again for this contest.

Kari Lehtonen had won four straight outings for the Stars before being replaced by Jhonas Enroth less than seven minutes into the first period Thursday. It’s unclear who will be in net for this contest with Dallas playing a back-to-back set.

Detroit defenseman Kyle Quincey, who had a goal and an assist in the first meeting, didn’t skate Friday and is questionable with an undisclosed injury. The Red Wings recalled Jakub Kindl from AHL Grand Rapids to play if Quincey can’t go.