The Wings started off a stretch of three games in four nights by taking on the Dallas Stars on Tuesday at American Airlines Center.
It was not pretty.
The Wings started poorly, let Mrazek get shelled in the first half, generated very little offensive zone time and lost defenseman Danny DeKeyser to injury before showing signs of life in the third period. The last 2 minutes were very exciting, as the Wings pulled their goalie for the extra attacker.
Still it all added up to the Wings’ first loss of the season, 4-2. The Stars added an empty-net goal with 2 seconds left in regulation.
They next head out to Arizona for a game Thursday against the Coyotes, then head into Las Vegas to take on the Golden Knights on Friday.
The Stars had all the offensive-zone time the first 5 minutes of the game as the Wings were unable to break the puck out, or establish any kind of grind time. It took a shift from Henrik Zetterberg’s line to finally broach Ben Bishop. But Mrazek continued to see most of the work, and the Stars took a 1-0 lead at 9:15 when John Klingberg fired a puck through traffic that hit the right post then hit Mrazek and went in. Anthony Mantha was stopped on a breakaway and Martin Frk denied a one-timer on a power play, but otherwise the Wings did not have quality chances.
The Wings fell behind, 2-0, when Tyler Sequin turned his shot on net into a goal, hammering a one-timer off the crossbar with 31 seconds to spare. The Wings were outshot, 11-6, won just 23 percent of faceoffs, and blocked eight shots.
Justin Abdelkader earned his first goal of the season at 3:50 of the second period when he tapped in a shot from the bottom of the left circle during a power play. Zetterberg slowed down to make the pass, fed by Mike Green. Green had just drawn a penalty when Seguin unwisely shoved Green into the boards. It was a good confidence booster for Abdelkader, who needs a bounce-back season after reaching just seven goals last season.
Mrazek had faced 20 shots at the game’s midpoint and 27 after 40 minutes, eight of them during power plays. The Wings had nine shots in the second period; the best one was courtesy of Frk, whose slap shot knocked Bishop on his back. The Wings did better on faceoffs, improving their winning percentage to 41.
The Wings finally skated in the third period, and tested Bishop with regularity. The reward was Mantha scoring with 4:49 to play in regulation, when he used his size to play down low and control the puck. It was his second goal of the season, and Dylan Larkin assisted. Green picked up his sixth assist of the season.