Sunday, January 08, 2006

GameDay: vs. Dallas (26-12-2, 54 Pts) 5:00 ET

This afternoon, the Wings will play the Stars for the second time this season. They won the first game, in Dallas on December 27th, 4-1. The Wings overcame a slow start with the help of Chris Osgood and pulled ahead in the second and third periods with goals by Henrik Zetterberg, Tomas Holmstrom and Kirk Maltby. These teams face each other twice more before the end of the regular season: January 28 in Dallas and April 17 in Detroit. The Wings are coming off a big 3-1 win over division rival Nashville Friday night. It was a playoff-style game, physical and fast-paced with a lively crowd and one of the best games of the season. Steve Yzerman, in his second game back from a groin injury, notched his 1,049th career assist, tying him with Gordie Howe for 7th all-time. Detroit played well and provided a glimpse of what they are capable of against quality opponents, showing they can skate with youth and speed after all. The season-series with the Preds is bound to be exciting and a tough one. The win made Detroit 7-1 in their last eight games, the only loss in that span coming to Minnesota on the 3rd. The Stars are coming off a 4-3 shootout win over Anaheim on Friday. They rallied from a three-goal deficit in the second and third periods to force overtime and then the shootout. Then, Johan Hedberg stopped Teemu Selanne and Antti Miettinen scored in on JS Giguere in the fourth round of the shootout to give Dallas the win. Marty Turco, who had signed a contract extension Thursday, was pulled before the second period after allowing three goals on the Ducks' first six shots in the opening period. Since playing Detroit on the 27th of last month, Dallas has gone 3-1-1, with two losses to LA (one in regulation and one in overtime) and wins over St. Louis and Vancouver to go with Friday's win over the Ducks. Those losses to LA didn't help Dallas' place in the standings. They are now second in the Pacific Division, two points behind LA, where before they had been first. Mike Babcock stated before Friday's game that Chris Osgood would start today for the Wings. Manny Legace started against the Blues Thursday and the Preds Friday and played very well so it's time for Ozzie to show us where he stands. He is 24-9-3 against the Stars in his career and I say this is a great time to get win #25. As for the Stars, we may see Johan Hedberg in net instead of Marty Turco, who still hasn't beaten the Wings (through ten games, he is 0-5-5). Johan Franzen was hurt late in the game Thursday night when he was hit along the boards by Eric Brewer. He has an "upper body"injury and was scheduled to get an X-ray taken last night. He told the Free Press, "Can't really move that well. Little stiff today. Not sure what it is." Of course, the papers say nothing about Johan today so I have no idea whether he'll be in the lineup or not. If something is broken, he won't be but if not, it's up in the air and depends on how he feels, most likely. In a month of important games, this is yet another game the Wings need to win. They need to carry on the momentum they have gathered over the past two games and play with authority at home against the Stars. They beat the Preds Friday night but that won't mean much if they falter between now and their next meetings on the 24th and 26th.


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