Stars-Red Wings Preview
Although coach Jeff Blashill wasn't completely satisfied with the latest effort, the Detroit Red Wings have kept their past two opponents relatively quiet while matching their longest win streak of the season.
That Red Wings defensive corps will get one of its most significant tests Sunday with a visit from the high-powered Dallas Stars.
Detroit (7-5-1) has allowed one goal in each of its past two games, beginning with a 2-1 victory over potent Tampa Bay on Tuesday. The Red Wings followed with a 2-1 overtime win in their second victory over former coach Mike Babcock in Toronto on Friday.
Petr Mrazek nearly shut out the Maple Leafs until Dion Phaneuf's goal with 1:01 left in regulation. Jakub Kindl's clinched Detroit's third consecutive victory in the extra period.
"I didn't think our D played at the level we need them to play at tonight. It caused us a little bit of strife to get out of our end," Blashill said. "I think our D are better than they played tonight, I think they'll be better on Sunday. They're going to have to be."
The Red Wings' attempt at its first four-game win streak since January will come against a Stars team that's scored 50 goals in 14 games and four or more in nine contests, including each of its back-to-back victories.
Dallas (11-3-0) didn't need much production from league scoring leaders Jamie Benn or Tyler Seguin for a 4-1 victory Friday in Carolina. Seguin did record an assist to extend his point streak to seven games.
Patrick Sharp sparked a three-goal third period, and Dallas is among the league leaders with 18 goals in the final 20 minutes of regulation.
"We've been a lot better in the third periods this year than we were last year," coach Lindy Ruff said. "Some of it is patience, timely scoring, and we had a good look right at the beginning of the third period. I thought the third was a real good period."
Sharp also got "nicked up," according to Ruff, when he ran into the net while scoring his goal. Antoine Roussel is expected to return from an upper-body injury that kept him out Friday.
"I don't think (Sharp) is going to be out. There's a possibility, though," Ruff said.
Detroit has proved the more dynamic team while winning three in a row over the Stars, scoring a combined 17 goals. The teams played a wild 7-6 overtime game in their latest meeting Feb. 21 in Dallas.
They totaled six goals in the third period, with the Wings netting four and Kindl providing a pair.
The currently injured Pavel Datsyuk (ankle) had two goals and two assists. Seguin didn't play in that game because of a knee injury while Benn had a goal and an assist en route to the league's scoring title.
Benn, though, has just three points in his last seven games versus Detroit, and Seguin has two goals in five career matchups.
Captain Henrik Zetterberg, who scored his 300th goal Friday, has six goals and 10 assists while helping Detroit go 9-1-1 in its last 11 in the series. He has two goals and five assists in his past five home matchups.