The Dallas Stars' flight back home Wednesday night was full of smiles.
The Stars finished off a grueling four-game road trip with a split by winning in an unlikely place -- Joe Louis Arena. Alex Auld made 31 saves as Dallas beat Detroit 3-1, handing the Red Wings their first home loss in regulation this season.
Mike Ribeiro, Matt Niskanen and Loui Eriksson scored for the Stars, and Brad Richards and James Neal each had two assists as Dallas snapped Detroit's three-game winning streak.
''We played our best game, from start to finish,'' said Auld, who's likely to be back on the bench Thursday in favor of Marty Turco when the Stars host Columbus.
The Stars' special teams were a big reason for the win. Dallas scored twice on the power play while the penalty-killers shut down the Wings on all four extra-man opportunities.
''We were good where we had to be on the power play and killing penalties,'' Dallas coach Marc Crawford said.
The Wings got their only goal from their hottest scorer, Henrik Zetterberg, who scored 6:16 into the second period to make it 2-1. Detroit appeared to have tied the game 6:24 into the third period when a shot by Brad May went into the net, but referees Dennis LaRue and Stephane Auger ruled the whistle had blown.
Replays showed May's backhander from the bottom of the right circle squeezed between Auld's skate and the short-side goal post. There wasn't an immediate reaction, but the Wings celebrated a few seconds later.
''It wasn't blown dead. It was a goal,'' Wings coach Mike Babcock said. ''The guy never meant to blow the whistle. It was a shot.''
Auld, obviously, didn't agree.
''They've got enough cameras in the building. If they say it's not a goal, it's not a goal,'' he said. ''I think the biggest thing was the intent of the official to blow the whistle.''
May talked about what he saw.
''After I shot it, I didn't see it go in,'' he said. ''But he (Auld) was trying to pick his foot up and it was in the net. I just saw a highlight of it and have no idea why it wasn't a goal.''
Ribeiro opened the scoring on a power play 9:26 into the game when his attempted pass was accidentally swatted into the net by Detroit defenseman Jonathan Ericsson, who sprawled along the ice to try to block a pass. Niskanen made it 2-0 at 3:52 of the second period with his first goal of the season, beating Jimmy Howard with a one-timer from the point.
Zetterberg put Detroit on the board with his ninth goal. He cut into the slot from the right wing and beat Auld high on the sick side.
After the disallowed goal kept the Wings from tying the game, Eriksson's power-play goal, a tip-in of Neal's cross-crease pass with 7:17 left, gave the Stars some insurance.
"The bottom line is they were better than us for longer than us," Babcock said.
Material from wire services and team media was used in this report