The injury-ravaged Red Wings will try to overcome the absence of their top scorer Saturday afternoon when they visit the struggling Dallas Stars.
The Red Wings (18-11-5) are on a season-high four-game winning streak that has put them back in the Central Division race with Chicago and Nashville.
Detroit’s surge continued Thursday with a 3-0 win over Tampa Bay. However, Zetterberg left the game in the opening period when he suffered a slight left shoulder separation on a check from Lightning defenseman Mattias Ohlund(notes).
Zetterberg joins a long list of injured Wings. Detroit is without defenseman Niklas Kronwall(notes) (knee), right wings Johan Franzen(notes) (knee), Jason Williams(notes) (leg) and Danny Cleary(notes) (shoulder) and centers Valtteri Filppula(notes) (wrist) and Darren Helm(notes) (wrist).
Still, coach Mike Babcock is pleased with his team’s ability to withstand the slew of absences.
“I just think the guys are playing hard and we’re getting good goaltending,” said Babcock, who got his 300th career win Thursday.
Howard made 30 saves to get his first career shutout against the Lightning, winning a third consecutive start with a 1.33 goals-against average. He’s 11-6-1 with a 2.27 GAA in 19 games, while veteran Chris Osgood(notes) is 7-5-4 with a 2.70 GAA in 17 contests.
Osgood, though, snapped a personal five-game losing streak by making 33 saves in last Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win at Nashville.
Howard has started both games this season against Dallas (14-9-11), and stopped 29 shots to power a 4-1 win at home Nov. 30. He wasn’t as sharp in a 3-1 loss Nov. 18, making 29 saves.
The Stars may be hoping to avoid any extra hockey again after falling 6-5 at Atlanta as Marty Turco(notes) allowed the winning goal by Rich Peverley(notes) 1:16 into overtime. Loui Eriksson(notes) forced the extra session for the Stars by netting his 11th goal with 1:12 left in regulation.
“We have to address our consistency and start playing like a team,” defenseman Stephane Robidas(notes) told the Stars’ official Web site after getting two goals and an assist Thursday. “These guys are young, but they are good and talented.”
Dallas is on a 1-1-4 stretch and continues to struggled in games that go beyond regulation, going 4-11 while dropping seven of nine games via shootouts.
If the Stars are going to snap their three-game losing streak, they could use some scoring from James Neal(notes), who leads them with 14 goals. The left wing has just one goal in the last five games and three in 13.
Neal has no goals in six games against Detroit.