Stars, Wings collide in Dallas

( - The Detroit Red Wings halted a three-game slide the last time out and hope to keep heading in the right direction when they visit the Dallas Stars in Saturday's battle at American Airlines Center.

Detroit entered a six-game road trip on a 0-2-1 slide, but picked up a win Wednesday against Chicago in the opener of the swing, taking a 3-2 shootout decision at the United Center.

Tomas Tatar scored the decisive shootout goal in the victory, scoring on a backhander to begin the third round of the tiebreaker. Jimmy Howard then made a left pad save on Patrick Sharp to end the tilt and award the extra point to the visitors.

Tatar also had a second-period goal for Detroit, and Howard made 32 saves in regulation and overtime. Howard had lost his first two decisions following a return from a groin injury before getting off the schneid in the Windy City. It was his first win since beating Edmonton on Jan. 6.

"It was good, a long time coming," Howard said. "It feels extra special against a group that's so talented."

Detroit enters Saturday in third place in the Atlantic Division with 74 points, four less than the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Red Wings hold a comfortable nine-point margin over fourth-place Boston.

The Red Wings routed Dallas in the first of two meetings this season, notching a 5-2 win at Joe Louis Arena on Dec. 4. Darren Helm scored twice, while Stephen Weiss posted a goal and two assists.

Detroit has claimed two straight, four of five and eight of its last 10 against the Stars overall and also has won five in a row in Big D.

Dallas is six points out of a playoff spot in the West and has lost two of its last three games on the heels of a three-game winning streak from Feb. 8-13.

The Stars were handed a 5-2 loss in Thursday's meeting against the visiting San Jose Sharks.

Trevor Daley and Erik Cole provided offense for the Stars, while Kari Lehtonen lasted less than 27 minutes, allowing three goals on 17 shots. Jhonas Enroth stopped all nine shots faced in relief.

"I don't have any problem with the effort," said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. "I thought our effort was where it needed to be."

Dallas is 12-12-6 as the host this season and is capping a brief two-game homestand tonight. The Stars will begin a two-game road trip tomorrow at Minnesota.