Red Wings hope for better effort against Stars

( - The Detroit Red Wings hope to return to the win column when they host the struggling Dallas Stars in Thursday's battle at Joe Louis Arena.

Detroit won its season-high fourth straight game on Sunday, beating Vancouver to open its current four-game homestand. The Red Wings, however, lost for just the second time in eight games when it dropped a 4-3 regulation decision Tuesday against Florida.

The Red Wings grabbed an early lead on Tomas Tatar's power-play tally less than seven minutes into the first period, but the Panthers answered with four straight goals to take control of the game.

Florida pushed its lead to 4-1 just 27 seconds into the third period. The Red Wings cut the deficit to one after goals from Pavel Datsyuk and Gustav Nyquist, but were unable to draw even.

"Hockey is an honest and fair game and you have to be honest with your work preparation," said Detroit head coach Mike Babcock. "As a coaching staff we have to do a better job of getting the guys prepared."

Datsyuk posted a goal and an assist, giving him five points (5 goals, 1 assist) in the last four games. The Russian star has 17 points on 10 goals and seven assists in 14 games this season.

Jimmy Howard allowed four goals on 31 shots in the loss. He is expected to start tonight and owns a 7-5-2 record and 2.20 goals against average in his career against Dallas.

Detroit has won three of four and seven of the past nine meetings with the Stars, but Dallas has claimed two of three in the Motor City.

The Stars hope to halt a three-game slide tonight after dropping the first two tests of a three-game road trip. Dallas lost 5-2 at Colorado on Saturday before losing 5-3 in Tuesday's tilt against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Maple Leafs jumped out to a 3-0 lead Tuesday and held on for the victory. Jason Spezza, Ryan Garbutt and Ales Hemsky each lit the lamp for the Stars, while Kari Lehtonen made 35 stops in defeat.

"That's disappointing," Lehtonen said. "I can't let five goals in every night."

Lehtonen is 5-6-0 with a 3.19 GAA in his career against Detroit.

Alex Goligoski recorded two assists in the loss, while Tyler Seguin had a four-game point streak snapped despite firing six shots on goal. Seguin is leading the NHL with 18 goals and is third in the league with 31 points.

Dallas has lost three straight in regulation as the guest and is 5-6-0 on the road this season. After completing their swing tonight, the Stars will play three straight at home, beginning with Saturday's test against Montreal.