FRISCO, Texas -- The Dallas Stars will continue to be without their top two centers, Jamie Benn and Mike Ribeiro, as they host the Detroit Red Wings tonight at American Airlines Center. But they will get back another injured player, as rookie forward Tomas Vincour, who has missed the last 14 games with a knee injury, will see his first action since Dec. 15, 2011.
"It feels good," Vincour said of his knee. "I'm ready to go tonight and focus on helping us get two points tonight. Whatever coach (Glen Gulutzan)wants me to do, I'm going to do the best for the team so we can start winning games again."
In 14 games this season, Vincour has a goal and 2 assists. He was activated from injured reserve Tuesday; as a result, Dallas sent fellow forward Francis Wathier, who had been called up Sunday and played in Monday's loss at St. Louis, back to the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League.
Vincour will see minutes on the fourth line, most likely alongside Toby Petersen and Jake Dowell. He figures to log six or seven minutes in his return, according to Gulutzan.
Dallas heads into tonight's contest on a two-game losing streak and the Stars, who lost 1-0 at St. Louis on Monday, are 0-6-0 in the second half of back-to-backs this season. They will face a Red Wings club that is on a three-game win streak and won a franchise-record 15th straight game at Joe Louis Arena on Monday, a 5-0 blanking of Buffalo.
"It's going to be a tough one," Gulutzan said. "We worked real hard last night and didn't come up with a win. Tonight will be a tough game against a real good opponent. We're playing top-five teams in the League right now. We're going to have to work."
Stars starting goaltender Kari Lehtonen was stellar against the Blues on Monday, stopping 31 of 32 shots while taking a tough loss. However, Gulutzan will go with rookie Richard Bachman tonight against the Wings.
If Dallas is to break its two-game skid, Gulutzan knows they only have to adhere to a simple formula.
"We have to work," he said. "There's no secret. If we come in with the attitude that it's not going to be a tough game, we'll be in trouble. We've got to dig in, work, win the blue lines and play good defense."
So far this season, Dallas is 0-2-0 against Detroit, having lost to the Red Wings at home and on the road. These teams met just two weeks ago in Dallas, and it was Detroit who came away with a 5-4 win thanks to three-point nights from Valtteri Filppula and Henrik Zetterberg.
These teams will meet once more in the regular season, on Feb. 14 in Detroit.
Here are the projected lineups for tonight’s game:
Johan Franzen - Pavel Datsyuk - Todd Bertuzzi
Valtteri Filppula - Henrik Zetterberg - Jiri Hudler
Drew Miller - Darren Helm - Danny Cleary
Cory Emmerton - Justin Abdelkader - Tomas Holmstrom
Nicklas Lidstrom - Ian White
Niklas Kronwall - Brad Stuart
Jakub Kindl - Jonathan Ericsson
Ty Conklin will start in goal, with Jimmy Howard serving as the backup.
Forward Jan Mursak will be a healthy scratch, joining injured Wings Mike Commodore (foot) and Patrick Eaves (jaw) on the sideline
Brenden Morrow - Tom Wandell - Loui Eriksson
Steve Ott - Adam Burish - Radek Dvorak
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Michael Ryder
Toby Petersen - Jake Dowell - Tomas Vincour
Nicklas Grossman - Trevor Daley
Sheldon Souray - Stephane Robidas
Mark Fistric - Alex Goligoski
Defenseman Adam Pardy will be a healthy scratch; also sitting out are injured forwards Jamie Benn (appendectomy) and Mike Ribeiro (knee), as well as defenseman Philip Larsen (head).