Stars-Red Wings Preview

The Detroit Red Wings’ recent bout with inconsistency might be

of some concern for coach Mike Babcock.

Putting Chris Osgood in net may be enough to ensure a more

complete effort.

The Red Wings will try to help Osgood become the 10th goalie in

NHL history to reach 400 career wins Sunday as they host the Dallas

Stars, who’ve won their last three against Detroit.

Babcock considered starting Osgood on Friday at Chicago, but

instead opted to let the 38-year-old netminder try for the

milestone at Joe Louis Arena.

Osgood picked up No. 399 by making 33 saves in a 4-1 win at New

Jersey on Dec. 11. Although he’s become the backup to Jimmy Howard

for Detroit, 347 of his wins have come for the Red Wings, who

drafted him in 1991.

He’s 28-12-1 with three ties against the Stars, but Osgood has

lost his last three meetings with Dallas, stopping just 11 of 15

shots in a 4-1 loss Oct. 14.

Still, Babcock is hoping his team can unite behind Osgood. While

Detroit (20-8-3) has a Western Conference-leading 43 points, it has

not always played like one of the NHL’s elite over the last three

games.

The Red Wings opened the week with a 5-0 home loss to Los

Angeles on Monday, then followed by beating St. Louis 5-2 at Joe

Louis Arena on Wednesday. Detroit, however, was unable to build on

that victory and was thoroughly outplayed in a 4-1 loss to the

Blackhawks on Friday.

That defeat left Babcock wondering about the state of his

team.

“Shocked, actually, would be a good way to describe it,” Babcock

said. “I thought we were going to be better and have more guys

playing better.”

Pavel Datsyuk has a team-leading 37 points but has been held to

one assist the last three contests. He’s gone without a point in

his last two versus Dallas.

The October loss at Dallas was the Wings’ third straight and

sixth in seven games against the Stars. However, their lone victory

during that stretch came in the teams’ last meeting at Joe Louis,

4-1 on Nov. 30, 2009.

The Stars (19-10-3) have alternated wins and losses in their

last six contests, but improved to 13-2-3 in one-goal games with a

2-1 win at Columbus on Saturday.

After going five straight games without a goal, Brad Richards

scored twice to take over the team lead with 14.

Richards, who had a goal with two assists versus Osgood in

October, has two goals and nine assists in his last seven games

against the Red Wings.

Though Kari Lehtonen stopped 35 shots to avoid a third straight

loss Saturday, Andrew Raycroft is likely to get the start for the

Stars in this contest.

Raycroft is 5-3-0 with a 2.31 GAA this season, seeing an

increased workload this month while Lehtonen deals with a back

injury. He’s 4-2-0 with a 2.60 GAA versus Detroit.

“We are looking to Raycroft, and this is a situation exactly why

you have an experienced guy like (him),” coach Marc Crawford told

the Stars’ official website this week. “That’s great when you’ve

got your goaltender playing as well as (he) has played for us.”

Dallas has earned at least one point in 11 of its last 13 games,

going 9-2-2.