DETROIT - The No. 13 was true to its reputation as being an unlucky digit for the Dallas Stars.
Playing for the eighth time in the past 13 days, the Stars were dealt a 4-1 loss by the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena on Monday night. Though the defeat was bitter, Dallas was still able to go 4-3-1 during the busy stretch that began with a big win over these same Red Wings nearly two weeks ago.
After being blanked in their last two home games, the Red Wings pushed through to stop an 0-3-1 skid at home, while sending the Stars to their third loss in the last four games overall. Dallas was unable to deal Detroit its fifth straight loss at home, something the Red Wings haven't done since 1986.
Brenden Morrow scored, and Marty Turco finished with 28 saves for the Stars, who had won four of their last five meetings with the Red Wings coming in.
The Red Wings were able to produce the win without getting much production from their top four goal scorers, as lighter-weights Drew Miller, Darren Helm, Daniel Cleary and Todd Bertuzzi scored for Detroit. Jimmy Howard, meanwhile, made 29 saves to win his second straight, and sixth of his last eight decisions.
"They've always been that way," center Mike Modano said about Detroit's balance. "They've always had great depth. Their top guys check hard, their bottom guys check hard, and they produce."
After playing even with the Red Wings in the first 20 minutes, the Stars were stung by a pair of Detroit goals in the second while being outshot by a 13-6 margin. But when the Stars were able to show a spurt and turn up the offensive heat, Howard was there to thwart the attempts, leaving the Dallas shooters shaking their heads.
Up 3-1 after 40 minutes, the Red Wings increased their bulge when Bertuzzi netted his fourth of the year just 3:35 into the final frame. Bertuzzi stopped along the right boards at the hash marks before wristing a shot that went off defenseman Trevor Daley and into the top-right corner.
With the game tied after one period, Helm gave the Red Wings a 2-1 lead 5:35 into the second stanza. Kris Draper lugged the puck down the right wing in the Dallas zone before sending a cross-ice pass to Helm in the low slot. The puck seemed to have eyes, as it got through the denial attempts of defensemen Nicklas Grossman and Stephane Robidas as well as backchecking forward Jere Lehtinen before landing on Helm's stick and ultimately behind Turco.
Cleary upped the Detroit advantage to 3-1 with his fifth of the year at 12:06 of the second. Red Wings forward Tomas Holmstrom deflection of Brian Rafalski's shot from the right point went wide of the net, but unfortunately right to Cleary, who calmly tucked it in.
Detroit opened the scoring when Miller notched his second of the year at 13:48 of the first period. Miller was able to stave off an icing call by corralling the puck just below left circle after outracing Karlis Skrastins, and sent a shot towards the Dallas net that went off Tom Wandell's skate before ricocheting in off Daley's body.
Morrow tied it with his 11th of the year with just 14.1 seconds left on the first-period clock, and three seconds after a penalty to Holmstrom had expired. From the right point, Robidas sent a wrist shot toward the Red Wings net, where Morrow deftly deflected it past Howard while being covered by defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom.
The Stars will return to Dallas and start a short two-game homestand on Thursday when they host the Anaheim Ducks (7:30, FSN). The Stars will also play Edmonton on Saturday at American Airlines Center before departing for another west coast swing starting Dec. 8 at Anaheim.
--Robidas has 10 points in his last 10 games.
--Morrow's 11 goals ties him for the team-lead with James Neal.
--The Stars weren't whistled for a minor penalty in the first period, but incurred three infractions in the second period. Overall, the Stars killed off all four of their penalties.
--Dallas was 0-for-4 on the power play, and capped the busy eight-game, 13-day stretch by converting on 26.8 percent of its man advantage opportunities (11-for-41). The Stars had power-play goals in all but two of the contests during the span.
--Turco fell to 4-3 against the Red Wings since Feb. 2008.
--The two teams will meet again on Dec. 19 at American Airlines Center, and close out the four-game season series on Jan. 16 in Dallas.