Stars, Red Wings face off in four-game series over six days

NHL

If the surging Dallas Stars are to have a chance at surpassing the teams ahead of them and move into playoff position in the Central Division, they’ll need to take care of matters this week against a club below them in the standings.

Amid a season-high six-game point streak, the Stars play the first of four consecutive matchups in six days with the visiting Detroit Red Wings on Monday night.

Dallas sits sixth in the Central, but one point behind fifth-place Chicago and three back of Nashville, which holds the fourth and final playoff spot in the division. The Stars put themselves in this position by playing some of their better hockey of the season.

After outscoring Columbus 9-2 in winning its past two games, Dallas owns a 22-10 goal advantage during its 4-0-2 stretch.

“We have to keep climbing and putting points in and moving up,” Stars forward Joe Pavelski, who has a goal in three straight games.

“You get some momentum going and guys feel good. The biggest thing is that we have to keep taking care of business.”

That means keeping the focus on themselves and the Red Wings, whom the Stars will host again on Tuesday, then play two at Detroit on Thursday and Saturday. Detroit is last in the Central and eight points back of Dallas.

The Stars are 3-1-0 against the Red Wings this season and will aim for a seventh consecutive home victory in the all-time series.

Detroit, however, has played relatively well of late, going 6-4-2 since March 27. The Red Wings had won three in a row before Saturday’s 4-0 loss to the Blackhawks, and will try to extend their season-high road winning streak to four games — something they haven’t done since 2015-16.

“It’s gonna be challenging,” Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin, who has just one point versus Dallas this season, said of a week’s worth of games against the Stars.

“(The Stars) are fighting for their lives right now. It’s a great challenge that we need to step up to. We’ve got to come ready to play in Dallas.”

Trying to play the role of spoiler, the Red Wings are expected to get a look at both Jake Oettinger, 3-2-0 with a 1.62 goals-against average this month, and Anton Khudobin, who has stopped 41 of 42 shots and posted a shutout while winning both starts versus Detroit this season.

Meanwhile, Detroit’s Jonathan Bernier is 1-2-0 this month with a 3.71 goals-against average after stopping all 22 shots he faced before leaving a 3-2 home win over Dallas with a lower-body issue on March 18. Teammate Thomas Greiss is 1-2-1 with a 3.70 GAA against the Stars this season, but 3-1-2 with a 2.11 goals-against average as a starter this month.

Detroit’s Adam Erne had his eight-game point streak end Saturday against Chicago. However, he has four goals with an assist during a five-game road point streak.

Dallas’ Roope Hintz has recorded two goals with nine assists in his past five games, and one of each in two games against the Red Wings this year. Teammate Jason Robertson has four of each over the past six contests.

The Stars’ Denis Gurianov also has three goals with two assists in the past two games and a goal with five helpers versus Detroit in 2021.

–Field Level Media

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