Jan 3, 2012, 7:30 AM EDT
The last time the Red Wings and Stars met up this season, the Wings had their way with Andrew Raycroft in beating down the Stars 5-2. When these two get together tonight in Dallas (8 p.m. ET on NBCSN), things will be a bit different.
The Stars will be hoping that their winning ways from earlier this season have come back thanks to the return of Kari Lehtonen in goal. Lehtonen’s first game back against Boston turned out to be wildly successful, earning a 4-2 win over the defending champs. With Lehtonen’s return the Dallas defense showed up as well holding the Bruins to 20 shots on goal.
The Stars’ offense might not be huge, but they get consistent efforts out of the likes of Loui Eriksson, Brenden Morrow, Mike Ribeiro, and Jamie Benn. With a solid core like that, Dallas has enough to get things done as long as the effort is there.
Of course, they’ll have their hands full in dealing with the Wings. Detroit has won three of their last four and if it weren’t for those pesky Blackhawks, they’d be sitting well on top of the Central Division. Jimmy Howard has been stellar this season in goal with a goals against average under 2.00. Add that to the offense that Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen have put up this year and the superstar-laden Wings look as tough as ever.
Seeing how the Wings and their attack handle the ever capable Lehtonen shapes up to be the match-up worth watching in this one. Lehtonen showing he’s truly back to form will give the Stars all the reason to think they can storm their way into the playoffs.
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