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Stars Host Conference Best Red Wings

(Sports Network) - The Dallas Stars aren't likely to be intimidated by the Detroit Red Wings' position atop the Western Conference, not with two wins over the club already under their belt this season.

The Stars go for a seventh straight home win over the Red Wings this evening as the two clubs do battle at American Airlines Center.

The Red Wings became the first team in the Western Conference to reach 50 points this season thanks to a 4-3 overtime triumph at Colorado on Monday. They have a two-point edge over the Pacific Division-leading Stars, but have lost their last four games against Dallas, including a pair of meetings this season.

Dallas defeated Detroit for the sixth straight time at home on Oct. 14, a game that served as current Red Wing forward Mike Modano's return to town. The longtime face of the Stars franchise joined the Red Wings as a free agent this offseason, but won't play tonight due to right wrist surgery.

Detroit, which also dropped a 4-3 overtime decision at home to the Stars on Dec. 19, hasn't won in Dallas since Jan. 5, 2008 and will close out a four- game road trip tonight.

The Red Wings have won the last two games of the swing, with Niklas Kronwall notching the game-winner on Monday with 1:18 left in overtime on the power play. That made a victor out of Chris Osgood, who matched a career high with 46 saves to become the 10th goaltender in league history to reach 400 career wins.

"I'm happy to get that one done with," said Osgood, who had lost his last two starts. "I've worked hard to stay in the league, changing my style and staying in shape. That's what I'm most proud of."

Nicklas Lidstrom notched a goal and three assists, while Jiri Hudler and Johan Franzen also scored. Detroit improved to 10-5-1 on the road despite playing without both Dan Cleary (broken left ankle) and Pavel Datsyuk (broken right hand/wrist). The high-scoring skaters are out indefinitely.

Though Osgood is coming off his milestone victory, Jimmy Howard is likely to face the Stars tonight for the first time this season and is 1-3-1 with a 2.19 goals-against average lifetime when facing the club.

Dallas halted a two-game slide last night with a 4-2 victory in Nashville, getting rare goals from Mark Fistric and Krystofer Barch in the process. Both skaters scored during a three-goal third period, with Fistric scoring for the first time in 82 games and Barch ending a 95-game goal drought.

"Any time you get two unlikely guys to score goals for you in Fistric and Barch, you should win," Stars head coach Marc Crawford said. "It was very fitting that we did. It took a little something from everybody."

Loui Eriksson also scored in the third frame and Steve Ott added a first- period tally to back 44 saves from Andrew Raycroft.

Tom Wandell and Nicklas Grossman both missed last night's game due to illness.

Dallas now returns home for two straight and had been 10-0-3 in its previous 13 as the host before a 1-0 loss to Phoenix on Sunday.

With the Stars playing on consecutive nights, No. 1 netminder Kari Lehtonen should get the call tonight and is 2-2-0 with a 3.01 GAA versus the Red Wings. That includes 25 saves in the home victory over Detroit in October.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.