Season series -- The teams are meeting for the third time this season, with the Wings still looking for their first win. The Stars won 4-1 at Dallas on Oct. 14 and 4-3 in overtime at Detroit 10 days ago, spoiling Chris Osgood's bid for his 400th career victory.
Big story -- The fact that the Wings are on top of the Central Division and the Western Conference is no surprise to anyone -- Detroit has been among the NHL's elite for most of the last two decades. But the fact that the Stars are on top in the Pacific Division and could catch the Wings with a regulation victory is a stunner -- Dallas has missed the playoffs in each of the last two seasons, and little was expected from the Stars before the start of the season.
Red Wings -- Expect starter Jimmy Howard back in goal for the Red Wings after Osgood finally nailed down his 400th win at Colorado on Monday when Niklas Kronwall's overtime goal gave Detroit a 4-3 victory. Osgood matched a career high with 46 saves to become just the 10th goaltender in NHL history to reach 400 wins. He is 400-216-95 in his 17-year career.
"Just the way it's been my entire career. Nothing ever comes easy," the 38-year-old Osgood said with a grin.
Stars -- The signing of goaltender Andrew Raycroft didn't attract much attention during the summer, but the former Calder winner has been a solid addition as a backup for starter Kari Lehtonen. He was the hero of the win at Nashville with 44 saves, allowing the Stars to win on a night in which they were outplayed.
"He's been phenomenal," forward Steve Ott said. "He's been kicking everything out. He's had point-blank shots, he's had one-timers, he's had screen shots … he's finding a way to see the puck. For us to have two goalies like this, it just keeps giving us confidence."
Who's hot -- Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg has 8 points during a four-game scoring streak. Captain Nicklas Lidstrom is coming off a four-point night against the Avalanche and is 3-4-7 in his last four games. … Dallas forward Loui Eriksson scored again on Tuesday, giving him 3 goals and 8 points in his last five games.
Injury report -- Detroit took another big hit this week when forward Dan Cleary broke his left ankle on Sunday and is expected to miss four weeks. Star center Pavel Datsyuk broke his right hand last week and will miss at least another 3-5 weeks. … Dallas defenseman Nicklas Grossman has missed the last two games with an illness. Forward Tom Wandell also missed Tuesday's game because he was ill.
Stat pack -- Dallas is 5-0-0 in the first game of back-to-backs after winning at Nashville. The Stars are 2-2-0 in the second half. The Stars won at Nashville after trailing 2-1 in the third period, marking the 12th time this season they've gotten points after trailing at some point in the final 20 minutes.
Puck drop -- Detroit's Jiri Hudler scored Monday night, ending a 17-game goal drought and a 13-game points drought. He's been a huge disappointment with 2 goals and 8 points in 31 games after returning to Detroit from a year in Russia.
"I don't know what's that word 'relieved,' but it's got to be continuous now. It should be continuous,'' Hudler told mlive.com. "We talked about that when I scored at home against (Colorado), and what happened? You got to stay with it."