DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings and Dallas Stars will face off for the second time this season Tuesday night in Texas.
The Red Wings (24-13-1) won the first meeting 5-2 on Nov. 12 at Joe Louis Arena. They are coming off an important 3-0 win over the St. Louis Blues.
Goalie Jimmy Howard continues to be crucial for Detroit's success. Howard has a league-best 23 wins and Saturday's shutout was his fourth on the season.
The Red Wings are a fierce competitor in the race for Western Conference first place. If not for a below .500 road record (9-11-0), Detroit most likely would find itself at the top of the conference.
The Stars (21-15-1) are just out of playoffs range with 43 points. There are 10 teams in the Western Conference which are separated by one point, which means five teams sit between the Stars and Wings, who have 49 points.
Dallas dropped a tough 4-1 loss the bottom-feeding Columbus Blue Jackets this past week, but followed up with a 4-2 victory over the Boston Bruins.
The Red Wings will be without Darren Helm and Tomas Holmstrom who are both suffering from groin injuries. Patrick Eaves remains on injured reserve with a broken jaw.
Rookies Joakim Andersson and Gustav Nyquist will join the Wings' injury-depleted offense.
Moreover, Detroit removed forward Chris Conner from IR on Monday. Conner was out with a broken hand which he suffered Dec. 13 in Pittsburgh.
Sheldon Souray, Tomas Vincour and Stephane Robidas are out for the Stars.
This is the first game of a four-game road trip for the Red Wings who will travel to Toronto, Chicago and New York to play the Islanders. Detroit's next home game is Jan. 12 against the Phoenix Coyotes.
Game time is 8 p.m.
Starting next season, Dallas and Detroit will find themselves in the same "division" again since the NHL plans to realign into four "conferences."