Stars-Red Wings Preview

The Associated Press

Thanks in part to an NHL record, the Detroit Red Wings compiled the most home wins last season.

The venue didn't seem to matter against the Dallas Stars.

The Red Wings hope to re-establish their dominance at Joe Louis Arena as they face the Stars for the first of two meetings within a week Tuesday night.

Detroit (1-1-0) went 31-7-3 at Joe Louis last season, leading the league in victories while tying St. Louis for the most home points at 65. That success was buoyed by an NHL-record 23-game winning streak, with 20 decided in regulation or overtime.

Two of those victories came against Dallas (1-1-0), including a 3-1 win Feb. 14 to complete a sweep of the four-game season series.

Detroit, however, followed that run by concluding the regular season 5-5-2 at home before dropping both first-round playoff matchups there to Nashville en route to a five-game exit.

The Wings will have some momentum in their home opener after rookie Damien Brunner scored the decisive shootout goal in dazzling fashion to clinch Monday's 4-3 win at Columbus. That was a welcome change after they were humiliated 6-0 in St. Louis two days earlier.

"This was an important game," Jimmy Howard said after making 30 saves. "You don't want to go down 0-2, especially in the shortened season. Two points are key. We got 'em."

Pavel Datsyuk scored his first goal Monday, a third-period tally that eventually forced overtime and the shootout after setting up an earlier goal by Ian White. The All-Star left wing didn't register a shot against the Blues.

He's been quite busy with 15 points over his last 13 home meetings with the Stars.

One area where the Red Wings need improvement is on the power play. They have a league-leading 11 power plays through two games, but have no goals while also surrendering a short-handed tally.

The Stars are hoping some rest will help them rebound from Sunday's sluggish 1-0 loss at Minnesota after opening the season with a 4-3 win over Phoenix a day prior.

"We knew it's going to be like that, with the short season, with such a short season and we get to make up a lot of games in a short time," said Jaromir Jagr, who turns 41 next month.

Jagr came up empty on three shots Sunday after getting two goals and two assists in his Stars debut against the Coyotes. His 667 career goals are one back of Luc Robitaille for 10th on the all-time list.

Jagr has no points in his past three meetings with the Red Wings, and last scored against them with the New York Rangers on Jan. 14, 2006.

Kari Lehtonen, who had 37 saves Saturday, is expected to be back in net after backup Christopher Nilstorp stopped 31 shots in his NHL debut against the Wild.

Lehtonen has split four visits to Detroit with a 2.26 goals-against average, making 34 saves in the Feb. 14 loss.

These teams meet again at Joe Louis next Tuesday, when Dallas will be the team playing the second game in back-to-back nights.

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