The Dallas Stars and Detroit Red Wings both found themselves in penalty trouble during Tuesday’s game at Joe Louis Arena. The Red Wings took advantage of the Stars’ problems, but the Stars couldn’t take advantage of the Red Wings’ and that was the difference at Detroit skated away with a 4-1 victory.
Henrik Zetterberg scored on a five-on-three power play with 23.8 seconds left in the second period to give Detroit a 2-1 lead in the game, and the Red Wings went on to add two more goals in the third to hand the Stars their fourth straight defeat (0-3-1).
The power play opportunity came after Stars forwards Jamie Benn and Ray Whitney took high sticking penalties. Benn’s was a double minor.
“Five-on-threes and four-on-threes against a team like this that is this hungry on the power play right now, you just can’t take those,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “That’s the difference. We didn’t capitalize on our (five-on-three).”
The Stars had their own power play chances earlier in the game, when Detroit took four minors in the first period and gave the Stars 39 seconds of five-on-three time. The Stars failed to capitalize on a night when they were playing the second game of a back-to-back set, and an early lead would have been huge.
“We definitely needed to get one there with the five-on-three,” said Stars forward Loui Eriksson. “We have to do something better there. That can win us the game.”
The Stars did get the lead, scoring midway through the second when Eriksson banged home the rebound of a Cody Eakin shot on an odd-man rush.
But the Red Wings bounced back to tie less than three minutes later when Pavel Datsyuk stole the puck from Jordie Benn behind the Dallas net and set up Valtteri Filppula, who scored from the slot.
After taking the lead on the Zetterberg power play goal, the Red Wings got goals from Damien Brunner and Filppula 23 seconds apart early in the third period to put the game away.
The loss pushed the Stars to 2-4-1 on the season. These first seven games came over a hectic 11-day stretch to open the lockout-shortened season.
“At the end of the day, we need results but we’ve got to keep forging ahead because when you don’t, that is the moment you stall,” said Gulutzan. “There were some good things tonight in a back-to-back, you can see on the shot clock and a few things like that. We’re coming, we’re going to push and we’re going to get to where we need to go.
“I’d rather go through our growing pains now, get our game in order and make our push at the end. It’s still a lot of games. We’re going to keep pushing”
The Stars now have a couple of days before they play again. That will be Friday, when they host the Phoenix Coyotes.
“It’s been a lot of games, a lot of tough games, too,” said Eriksson. “We’ll get a couple of days here to get better as a team.”
Tuesday’s game got off to a raucous start as Stars forward Eric Nystrom and Red Wings forward Jordin Tootoo dropped the gloves as soon as the puck was dropped.
Late in the first period, Tootoo dropped the gloves again. This time it was with Stars defenseman Brenden Dillon.
There was some history here. A week ago, Tootoo plastered Stars defenseman Philip Larsen with a big hit. Tootoo said he was challenged by Dillon last week, but passed because he was at the end of a shift. This time around he was more than happy to oblige.
“I have a good memory of what happened the last game and he was the one that asked me to go, so it was game on,” Tootoo said.
Said Dillon: “Just playing hard and what happened the last game is in the back of your mind, but at the same time it was just one of those things to try to get the guys going.”
*Tuesday’s game was the first time this season the Stars have played in a game that wasn’t decided by one goal.
*The Stars allowed their first power play goal on the road this season. They are now 19-20 on the penalty kill in road games.
*The Stars have scored just four goals in four road games.
*G Richard Bachman took over for Kari Lehtonen with 4:30 left in the game and stopped two shots in his first NHL action this season.
*C Derek Roy (groin) and D Aaron Rome (flu) sat out Tuesday’s game. G Cristopher Nilstorp (groin) is also out.
*RW Tomas Vincour was the lone healthy scratch.