Stars hand Red Wings fourth straight loss

DETROIT (Ticker) — The Detroit Red Wings’ woes followed them

Steve Ott scored a goal and set up another as the Dallas Stars
tallied three times on the power play en route to a 4-2 victory
over the slumping Red Wings on Thursday.

Ott, Jere Lehtinen and Loui Eriksson all scored with the man
advantage for the Stars, who handed the Red Wings their
season-high fourth straight loss.

“I think we’re slipping a little bit defensively,” said Red
Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom, who returned to action after
sitting out the last game because of a league-imposed one-game
suspension for skipping the All-Star Game festivities.

“We’re looking too much at the puck and not picking up players.
We’re not quick on pucks, either. We have a chance to get the
puck out of our zone, and we don’t. Then they get back and play
another 20 or 25 seconds and eventually score a goal.”

Chris Conner netted his first goal of the season, Mike Modano
and Brad Richards each recorded two assists and Marty Turco made
21 saves for Dallas, which has won three in a row for the first
time this campaign.

“We were a determined team, and that’s the kind of team we have
to continue to be to increase our playoff chances,” Stars coach
Dave Tippett said. “We got tremendous effort throughout the
lineup, and that’s what it’s going to take to be successful.”

Marian Hossa and defenseman Andreas Lilja tallied for the Red
Wings, who had won their previous seven home contests.

Detroit, which had not lost at Joe Louis Arena since December
15, had successfully killed 25 straight power plays at home
before Ott deflected Richards’ shot from the high slot past
goaltender Chris Osgood with 9:45 left in the first period to
open the scoring.

“I don’t get to leave this place with a smile on my face too
often,” Ott said. “I grew up a Red Wings fan, so every time we
lose in here, I’ve got to hear about it for the next summer and
a half from all of my friends. Now, we’ve taken three out of
four games from the best team in the league.”

The 26-year-old Ott has recorded 11 points in his last 11 games.

“It’s the opportunity. I’ve been given the chance to play with
a magician in Mike Ribeiro and a Selke (Trophy) winner in Jere
Lehtinen,” Ott said. “You’re going to get your chances playing
with those guys, and for the last 10 games or so, we’ve really
started to click.”

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“When we lost (captain Brenden Morrow to a knee injury), we
needed (Ott) to step up and fill that role, and he’s done very
well,” Tippett added. “They’re very similar players – gritty
guys who don’t mind getting in front and stirring it up. This
is Steve’s first time as a top two-line player, and he’s taking
advantage of it.”

Just 35 seconds later, Red Wings defenseman Chris Chelios
received a double-minor for high-sticking, and the Stars cashed
in on the ensuing man advantage.

Lehtinen netted his fourth goal of the season, converting a
centering pass from Richards with 8:26 remaining in the opening

“I thought we started out fine, then we gave up the two
penalty-kill goals right away,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said.
“The penalty-kill goals, for me tonight, were tough to take.

“The penalty kill has been outstanding all year at home.
Tonight, it wasn’t outstanding. Then, we dug ourselves such a
hole. We tried to battle back, but you can’t give a good team
that much of a head start.”

Conner made it 3-0 with 88 seconds left in the period, ending a
24-game drought.

Detroit replaced Osgood with Ty Conklin to start the middle
session. But after Hossa was whistled for tripping, Eriksson
scored his team-leading 23rd goal of the season exactly two
minutes into the period.

Eriksson originally mishandled a pass from rookie James Neal,
but Conklin went sliding out of the crease, allowing the
23-year-old Swede to corral the puck just behind the end line
and quickly stuff it into the net to provide a 4-0 bulge.

Turco, who surrendered a pair of goals in the second period,
picked up his first career regular-season win at Joe Louis
Arena. He was 0-8-2 in Detroit before this one.

“They’re tough to play, especially at home,” Turco said. “We’ve
had our struggles, to say the least. To see that work ethic we
had, especially in the third period, was an awesome sight. I
told all the boys thanks.”

Osgood turned aside nine of the 12 shots he faced before Conklin
made 10 saves over the final two periods.