Thu, 25 Feb 2021

Stars seek to extend spotless start vs. Red Wings

Field Level Media
28 Jan 2021, 09:40 GMT+10

The Dallas Stars have faced all kinds of adversity during the early weeks of the NHL season. A couple of things have remained constant though: an imposing power-play unit and a spotless record.

Dallas had its first four games postponed due to coronavirus complications. The Stars are currently dealing with a number of injuries, but they've won their first three games, including a 2-1 overtime decision against Detroit on Tuesday. Those same two teams will meet up once again in Dallas on Thursday.

Roope Hintz, Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn, Joel Kiviranta and Blake Comeau sat out the Stars' latest triumph. That led to some makeshift lines, but the Stars produced just enough offense to hand Detroit its third consecutive defeat.

"It shows that we've been drafting well and signing good free agents," said John Klingberg, who scored the regulation goal and assisted on Jason Dickinson's overtime tally. "We're a big family where everyone steps up when they need to. When some guys go down, other guys step up."

Hintz and Benn, who have lower-body injuries, are the only players among the walking wounded who might return for the rematch. It's just as likely the Stars will have to keep shuffling.

"Our philosophy here is 'next man up,'" Stars coach Rick Bowness said. "We weren't sure of our lineup until we got here. We had to make adjustments and these guys found a way. Every game is not going to be a Picasso and we've said that before. Sometimes you just have to find a way to win a game."

Bowness' club keeps finding way to score on the man-advantage. They've racked up nine power-play goals in the three victories, including Klingberg's first goal this season.

"There is a lot of chemistry involved," Bowness said of the power-play unit. "That group has been together since last year, and they are really doing a great job of reading off each other and finding the right plays and putting pucks to the net. And it's going in."

The Wings salvaged a point on Tuesday after losing in regulation twice at Chicago. They gave up 10 goals to the Blackhawks, but coach Jeff Blashill saw defensive improvement against the Stars.

"One of our major keys (Tuesday) was discipline," Blashill said. "Obviously, their power play is really humming. We've got to do a better job staying out of the box and play them five-on-five the best we can."

Vladislav Namestnikov, who was signed as a free agent during the offseason, produced his first goal for the Wings.

"I've had plenty of opportunities to score, but that's sometimes how hockey goes -- they just don't go in," he said. "(Then) a goal like that squeaks in there. So I'm glad to get that first one, but it would have been nice to get the win."

Blashill was glad to see Namestnikov break through in the scoring column.

"That's a guy who's extremely hard on himself," Blashill said. "I thought that was Vladdy's best game for us. Maybe scoring a goal is a weight off his shoulders."

Like the Stars, the Red Wings are playing short-handed. They have five players on the league's COVID-19 protocols list. That group includes two of their better offensive threats, Filip Zadina and Robby Fabbri.

--Field Level Media

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