Red Wings-Stars Preview
A veteran forward's late goal in one of the league's showcase games kept the Detroit Red Wings' much-needed point streak going.
They'll try to extend it Monday night by continuing their dominance of the slumping Stars in Dallas.
Brad Richards tallied the tiebreaking score with one minute left in Saturday's Stadium Series matchup against Colorado at Coors Field, his fifth outdoor game. The Red Wings (31-20-11) scored four times in the final period in the 5-3 win and earned a least one point for a fourth consecutive time.
They've won the past two contests and have used those four points to maintain a slim advantage on one of the Eastern Conference's final playoff spots. Detroit is seeking a 25th consecutive postseason berth.
"Finding a way to get the two points was huge," coach Jeff Blashill said. "Will it be a big moment? It will if we build off of it and have a great outing in Dallas and continue to move forward. I think as a team we did some good things and have to continue to do so to get better."
The Red Wings will next seek a seventh consecutive win in Dallas and might be catching the Stars (38-19-6) at an advantageous time.
Dallas is 1-4-1 in its last six and has dropped three straight on its own ice, its only home losing streak this season. It seemed the Stars might get at least one point Saturday against the visiting New York Rangers when Valeri Nichushkin scored with 4:01 remaining, but they gave up the tiebreaking goal with 2:53 left in a 3-2 defeat.
That result included some controversy as Dallas had a potential goal waved off midway through the third period, and officials couldn't determine if the puck crossed the line on video review.
The Stars could take some solace from a much improved defensive effort in front of their fans. They allowed 13 goals in their previous two home games, but goaltender Kari Lehtonen still expressed his frustration.
"I think it was a step forward, but the result was the same. Not too happy about that," he told the team's official website.
Dallas made a big move to address its defensive shortcomings Monday, acquiring Kris Russell from Calgary for defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka, forward prospect Brett Pollock and a conditional 2016 second-round pick. That pick becomes a first-rounder if the Stars advance to the Western Conference finals and Russell dresses in 50 percent of the games in the first two rounds.
Russell, 28, is an elite shot-blocker who has 174 in 51 games this season. The pending free agent has four goals and 11 assists.
At the other end of the ice, Dallas is averaging 2.1 goals in its last 10 home games, a far cry from its 3.8 per contest in its 16-4-0 start there. Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn and Jason Spezza have accounted for 13 of those 21 goals.
The Red Wings have given up seven goals during their point streak after allowing 15 in their previous three games. They've yielded six goals in their past three road contests but had lost six straight until Saturday.
Detroit's six-game road win streak against Dallas is its longest active one versus any opponent as is the Stars' home skid against the Red Wings.
Dallas topped Detroit 4-1 on Nov. 8, ending a three-game losing streak in the series.
Red Wings star Pavel Datsyuk, an owner of five consecutive multipoint performances against Dallas, missed that game because he was recovering from ankle surgery. He has four goals and nine assists during that run, including two goals and two assists in a 7-6 overtime win in Dallas last February.