The Dallas Stars got off to a great start in Detroit Tuesday night, scoring just 16 seconds into the game, but they couldn't find the back of the net the rest of the night and fell 3-1 to the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena.
Special teams turned out to be key on this night. The Red Wings scored twice on the power play, and the Stars were 0-5 with the man-advantage and missed on a 46-second five-on-three opportunity in the third period.
"They got two and we got none, and that's the game," said Stars center Jason Spezza. "On the road, you've got to win the special teams battle."
The Stars, who were playing on the second night of a back-to-back, and wrapping up their November schedule that had them play 16 games in 29 days, had the better of play most of the night. They outshot the Red Wings 35-20, including 17-3 in the third period as they pushed for the game-tying goal.
"I thought we skated well, especially playing a back-to-back with travel. That was a good 60-minute skate for us," said Stars forward Patrick Sharp. "The power play has got to find a way to cash in. It's frustrating, but we'll take the positives out of it and get ready to play Thursday."
Esa Lindell scored the lone goal, and Kari Lehtonen stopped 17 of 19 shots for the Stars, who fell to 9-9-6 on the season.
The Red Wings (11-10-2) ran their points streak to four games (3-0-1) behind a sharp 34-save effort from goaltender Petr Mrazek and power-play goals from Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha.
"We had a special teams win tonight, and our goalie was really good," said Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill. "We haven't done it enough this year where our specialty teams have won us games. It's huge in this league."
The Stars scored 16 seconds into the game when Tyler Seguin put a backhand shot on net, and Lindell tallied on the rebound for his second goal of the season.
The Red Wings answered in the final minute of the first with a goal on the power play. Just six seconds after Stars defenseman Stephen Johns went to the penalty box for interference, Larkin's shot from the high slot hit the skate of Stars defenseman Jordie Benn and went into the net to tie the game 1-1 at the 19:21 mark.
"First goal was a tough break," said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. "Sometimes when it is going bad those things happen."
Detroit scored the only goal of the second period, cashing in on its second power play when Henrik Zetterberg set up Mantha on a two-on-one rush, and Mantha scored into the open side of the net to put Detroit up 2-1 at the 7:56 mark.
The Stars had three power-play chances in the third period, including 46 seconds of five-on-three time, but couldn't get the equalizer.
"Our execution late on special teams wasn't good enough," Ruff said. "We missed the net too many times. We had a couple good looks, but he made good saves on them, but you've got to get the job done."
The Stars pulled Lehtonen with 2:30 remaining for an extra attacker, but Detroit's Steve Ott scored into the empty net with 1:03 remaining to seal the win and make it a 3-1 final.
Notes: Klingberg a healthy scratch
*Stars coach Lindy Ruff made some changes on defense Tuesday, bringing Dan Hamhuis and Stephen Johns back in and scratching John Klingberg and Patrik Nemeth. Asked about the decision to scratch Klingberg, Ruff had this to say: "He hasn't played well enough."
*Johns left Tuesday's game late in the third period after a collision with Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg. Johns was bleeding from the nose area. Ruff had no update on Johns after the game.
*The Stars had a 35-20 advantage in shots on goal and a 60-37 advantage in shot attempts.
*Jamie Oleksiak and Tyler Seguin led the Stars with 5 shots on goal each. Seguin was tops with 9 shot attempts.
*The Stars were 0-5 on the power play and 2-4 on the penalty kill.
*The Stars are 1-13 on the power play over their past five games.
*The Stars are 10-15 (66.7 percent) on the penalty kill in their past four road games.
*The Stars won 32 of 62 faceoffs (52 percent).
*Jason Spezza won 12 of 18 faceoffs (67 percent). Cody Eakin won 8 of 19 (42 percent). Radek Faksa won 2 of 12 (17 percent). Devin Shore won 3 of 5 (60 percent). Tyler Seguin won 4 of 4 (100 percent).
*Jamie Benn led the Stars with 23:27 of ice time. Julius Honka was next with 22:27.
The Stars play game three of their road trip when they take on the Pittsburgh Penguins Thursday. This is the first of two meetings between the two teams this season. The Penguins will be on the second night of a back-to-back as they play at the New York Islanders on Wednesday.
Jamie Benn - Cody Eakin - Tyler Seguin
Patrick Sharp - Jason Spezza - Patrick Eaves
Antoine Roussel - Radek Faksa - Brett Ritchie
Curtis McKenzie - Devin Shore - Lauri Korpikoski
Esa Lindell - Jordie Benn
Dan Hamhuis - Julius Honka
Jamie Oleksiak - Stephen Johns
Scratched: John Klingberg, Patrik Nemeth, Adam Cracknell
Injured: Johnny Oduya (lower body), Jiri Hudler (illness), Mattias Janmark (knee), Ales Hemsky (hip)
This story was not subject to approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.