The Detroit Red Wings won’t have much time to dwell upon their disappointing 5-3 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday, because the now 8-7-and-2 Red Wings face the Dallas Stars in Dallas on Tuesday evening (8:30 PM EST on ESPN Plus/hulu/97.1 FM).
The 5-6-and-2 Stars are coming off a 5-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday, which both snapped a 2-game losing streak and was the Stars’ first win that did not require overtime or a shootout to secure.
According to the Dallas News’s Matthew DeFranks, the Stars’ makeshift lineup, which won for the 2nd time in 8 games on Saturday, is still in flux, as illustrated by Monday’s practice:
The Stars were without Anton Khudobin on Monday morning, as Bowness said Khudobin had a non-COVID-related illness that forced the team to send him home before practice. Bowness said the Stars are hopeful that Khudobin can play Tuesday against the Red Wings.
Dallas is already without Braden Holtby, who missed Saturday’s game with a lower-body injury. Bowness said Holtby would “be out for a couple days,” and should resume skating on Wednesday or Thursday.
That left Jake Oettinger and Ben Bishop as the team’s two goalies at practice Monday. Oettinger backed Khudobin up on Saturday and has not played in an NHL game yet this season. Bishop remains on long-term injured reserve while rehabbing his knee, though he has been at nearly every practice since the start of training camp in mid-September.
Bowness said the Stars have notified Oettinger to be ready to play against Detroit, but “we’ll see what it looks like in the morning.”
Forward Tyler Seguin left practice early on Monday, and Bowness said Seguin is dealing with a lingering lower-body injury that the Stars didn’t want to aggravate in practice.
“Just a lower-body thing that we’re trying to watch a little closer,” Bowness said. “We were off yesterday, clearly, so he went out there to test it. He should be fine tomorrow night.”
Seguin has taken two maintenance days in recent weeks to deal with the injury: Nov. 3 in Calgary and Tuesday in Frisco.
So the Stars’ practice lineup looked like this, per DallasStars.com’s Mike Heika…
No Khudobin at practice. We'll ask.— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) November 15, 2021
And NHL.com’s Taylor Baird tells the story of Dallas’s win on Saturday:
The Dallas Stars won for the first time in regulation this season, 5-2 against the Philadelphia Flyers at the American Airlines Center on Saturday.
Dallas (5-6-2) had won three games in overtime and one in a shootout.
“It’s one [game],” Stars forward Joe Pavelski said. “We understand we can’t get it all back in a week. We just have to keep going out there and focus on what we are doing day to day.”
“You don’t want to have 60 shots [against] every game,” Khudobin said. “It’s the bottom line. But if you are, then what else do you have to do? You have to go and stop every shot. If there’s 20 shots, great. It’s kind of your night off.”
According to the Associated Press’s recap of Saturday’s Stars win, Dallas held a players-only meeting after their 4-2 loss to Nashville last Wednesday, and Saturday’s win caused DallasStars.com’s Heika to pull out the fancy stats:
According to Natural Stat Trick, Dallas entered the game with an average of 29 scoring chances per game and netted 31 on Saturday. The Stars typically get 10 high danger scoring chances per game and finished with 13 on Saturday.
Those are clearly bumps, but is it enough to explain the goal push? Bowness said he’s not quite sure yet.
“They were just going in,” [Stars coach Rick] Bowness said. “We’ve had those nights before where we’ve had that many shot attempts and shots at the net and quality chances. They just didn’t go in, and tonight they went in.”
Bowness believes the team has created plenty of scoring chances in the past two seasons, and just hasn’t found the poise or the creativity to score. Last season, Dallas ranked 12th in scoring chances and 18th in scoring. This year, Dallas is up about three scoring chances per game, but still ranks middle of the pack.
Dallas averaged 2.79 goals per game last season and is at 2.38 this year.
Now, all of this is a small sample size, but does it speak to the issue of how does the team score more?
Long story long, Dallas is a high-octane team that probably hasn’t scored as much as it would like, and, all things being even, they should at least possess the personnel to be an explosive-scoring team against the Wings, should Detroit’s focus wane.
If you’re interested in delving further into Dallas’ win over Philadelphia, the Associated Press and NHL.com provide recaps, and the Game Summary, Event Summary and Rosters are available, as are Sportsnet’s highlights:
Absent game previews from the Associated Press or Field Level Media, which won’t post until 4 or 5 AM, I’ll also direct you to Stars coach Rick Bouwness’s 8:48 Monday press conference, per the Stars’ website…
As well as a conversation with former Red Wing Luke Glendening;
Glendening has moved on, as he told the Dallas News’s DeFranks:
Glendening will play his first game against his former team on Tuesday night when the Stars host the Red Wings. Glendening spent the first eight seasons of his NHL career in Detroit before signing a two-year contract in Dallas over the summer.
Save for one year of boarding school, Glendening is a Michigan lifer: born in East Grand Rapids, went to college at Michigan, played for Grand Rapids in the AHL and then Detroit in the NHL.
“I grew up a [Red Wings] fan,” Glendening said. “I got to live out my dream of playing for them for eight years. I have a ton of respect for the people in the organization. It’s a big game for this team. I don’t want to take anything away from that. We need the two points, and that’s the goal for tomorrow.”
Glendening has scored four goals this season, tied for second-most on the team behind Tyler Seguin’s five tallies. He said his relatives “were the biggest Red Wings fans when I was there, but they might be the biggest Dallas Stars fans in Michigan now.”
And there is one more topic that we need to touch upon before all is said and done: this will be the first meeting between these teams since Jamie Benn ended Dylan Larkin’s season and complicated his summer with a nasty cross-check to the back of Larkin’s neck…
So it will be “interesting” to see how the teams respond.