Both Howard and Petr Mrazek participated in the morning skate but general manager Ken Holland said Mrazek has a bit of a tender groin, so the Wings called up goaltender Jared Coreau from the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins.
Coreau was expected to arrive in time to back up Howard.
Howard is 7-9-5 with a 2.82 goals-against average and .906 save percentage in 23 games this season.
In his last start, Feb. 21 at New York, Howard shut out the Rangers until overtime.
"With Jimmy, I thought he had a few strong outings heading into that game in terms of his play," Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "Sometimes the puck goes in even when you play well. His game had been building. He was excellent against the Rangers. Hopefully that can continue here tonight. I think every night is a new story, you got to go out and do a good job stopping pucks, but I think he feels real confident about his game. Through the work he put in with (goaltending coach) Jimmy Bedard he knows he can execute at this level and he really prepared himself and he’s real confident in himself."
The Stars are right behind the Chicago Blackhawks in the Central Division with 82 points to Chicago's 83.
The Stars are the only team to have scored more than 200 goals so far this season, with 202 in 63 games.
Leading the way for the Stars are Jamie Benn (32 goals, 38 assists) and Tyler Seguin (32 goals, 36 assists).
Young defenseman John Klingberg has 10 goals and 42 assists.
"Great transition team, they can really get behind you offensively, whether they’re in their own zone or the neutral zone," Blashill said. "We have to do a great job on our offense to defense transition, exiting their zone, making sure we reload hard and get back above people and we have to make sure we do a good job in the neutral zone of being above and tight."
Stars coach Lindy Ruff said although the Stars are ahead of the Wings points-wise, the Stars want to establish the level of consistency the Wings have had over the years.
"We want the opposition to look at us like here's what they're going to bring, here's what we've got to be aware of," Ruff said. "We know what they're going to bring. I think that's what's made them successful. They've got five or six guys, a couple guys on the back end, three or four guys up front that have lived all those years when they've been so successful. Any franchise wants to get to that point."
The Stars came out firing shots at Howard.
Jamie Benn, Ales Hemsky, Jason Spezza and Patrick Sharp all had chances before the Wings got their first shot on goal.
Dylan Larkin finally made Niemi work at 6:34.
Then Stars forward Colton Sceviour was called for tripping Andreas Athanasiou at 8:32, giving the Wings the first man-advantage of the game.
Both Pavel Datsyuk and Niklas Kronwall had chances but Niemi stopped them both.
At 12:23, Benn had another great chance when Sharp found him alone in the right circle but Howard stopped the backhand shot.
The Stars had several great chances, including Jason Demers' chance from the right boards that went off the left post.
Luke Glendening was called for holding the stick after that play and Howard had to be at his best on the penalty kill.
Benn had another good look, as did Tyler Seguin but Howard stopped both.
RED WINGS 0, STARS 0
PENALTIES: 1. DAL, minor, Colton Sceviour, tripping, 8:32. 2. DET, minor, Luke Glendening, holding the stick, 17:42.
SHOTS: Detroit 7, Dallas 15.
Both teams had power-play chances in the second.
First it was the Wings as Jason Demers was called for hooking Athanasiou at 1:10.
The Wings were not able to capitalize for the 19th straight man-advantage in the last seven games.
Then Danny DeKeyser was called for interference at 3:04 but the Wings killed it off.
At 11:50, Niemi made a save on Gustav Nyquist but could not hang onto the rebound, which ended up on Athanasiou's stick.
Athanasiou scored his third goal of the season, assisted by Tomas Tatar and Nyquist.
The Stars tied the game with 2:28 left in the second.
Sceviour tied the game on a pass from Vernon Fiddler, who was playing in his 800th career game. Alex Goligoski got the second assist.
RED WINGS 1, STARS 1
SCORING: DET, Andreas Athanasiou (3), Gustav Nyquist, 11:50. 2. DAL, Colton Sceviour (8), Vernon Fiddler, Alex Goligoski, 17:32.
PENALTIES: 1. DAL, minor, Jason Demers, hooking, 1:10. 2. DET, minor, Danny DeKeyser, interference, 3:04.
SHOTS: Detroit 10 (17), Dallas 13 (29).
The Stars had two excellent chances early in the third as Antoine Roussel and Hemsky both tested Howard in close.
But Athanasiou put on a show as he grabbed the puck and deked around Dallas defenseman Johnny Oduya, backhanding the puck top shelf.
After Jamie Benn hit the right post at 8:51, Henrik Zetterberg was sent to the box for tripping.
Howard had to make saves on Seguin from the left circle and on Spezza in close, stopping four shots total during the kill.
Darren Helm stole the puck from Demers at 15:25 but Niemi made the save.
Oduya was called for hooking but 42 seconds into the power play, Niklas Kronwall went off for high-sticking.
While the Stars had their brief power play, they also pulled Niemi.
With the extra attacker, the Stars tied the game with 1:31 left in regulation.
Demers kept the puck in the zone and Fiddler got a rebound at the net for his eighth goal of the season.
RED WINGS 2, STARS 2
SCORING: 1. DET, Andreas Athanasiou (4, 2nd of game), Mike Green, Luke Glendening, 6:38.
PENALTIES: 1. DET, minor, Henrik Zetterberg, tripping, 8:51. 2. DAL, Johnny Oduya, hooking, 15:25. 3. DET, minor, Niklas Kronwall, high-sticking, 16:07.
SHOTS: Detroit 12 (27), Dallas 12 (41).
Former Wings prospect Mattias Janmark was called for hooking at 1:51 of overtime.
Datsyuk capitalized with the man-advantage at 2:33 for the victory.
It was Howard's first win since Dec. 3 against the Arizona Coyotes.
RED WINGS 3, STARS 2
SCORING: 1. DET, PPG: Pavel Datsyuk (13), 2:33.
PENALTIES: 1. DAL, minor, Mattias Janmark, hooking, 1:51.
SHOTS: Detroit 6 (33), Dallas 0 (41).