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Stars keep Modano, Red Wings grounded

Mike Modano’s return to Dallas as a member of the Detroit Red Wings was pretty uneventful, at least from the Detroit perspective.

Modano and the Red Wings fell behind in the first minute of the game and never caught up, losing 4-1 to the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center Thursday night.

“They got a good start, they made a good push and got the lead,” Modano said. “After that point we still had some good opportunities, chances here and there to get back in it, but [Kari] Lehtonen made some good saves tonight.”

Modano played 15:14 in the game, had no points, no shots on goal and won 6 of 11 faceoffs. With 13:12 left in the first period he did get a standing ovation from the crowd at the AAC. He was shown on the scoreboard standing at the Red Wings bench during a timeout with a graphic that said, “Thank you Mike.” As the crowd applauded, Modano waved to the crowd.

“It was really nice,” Modano said. “It is great to be back, great to see a lot of familiar faces and people. Now we can move on and get into the season. I’m glad it was early to get it over with.”

Stars make it three in a row

With Thursday’s win over the Red Wings the Stars have won three straight games for the first time since January 2009. They Stars failed to win three games in a row last season.

“The monkey’s off the back finally,” said center Brad Richards. ““I don’t think we’re looking to accomplish three in a row as our goal this year, but it happens to be that and it happens to be at the start of the season. It’s very important. We are gaining some momentum and I really like how we’re playing.”

Richards line on a roll

Stars center Brad Richards had three points (one goal, two assists) in Thursday night’s game and he now has seven points (two goals, five assists) in his first three games. Both his linemates – Loui Eriksson and James Neal – scored goals in Thursday game. Richards, Neal and Eriksson have combined for 14 points (6 goals, 8 assists) in the first three games.

“We’re fortunate that nothing has changed on the line from last year,” Richards said. “We’re not trying anybody new on the line. My two wingers and myself are a year older and more experienced. We’ve got a year under our belt of learning from our mistakes and trying to build on what we did positively. We’ve talked about it. I love our communication. We’re friends and we talk a lot about the game. We’re going to keep trying to help the team the way we did the first few games.”

Detroit's Franzen leaves game after first period hit

Red Wings forward Johan Franzen left the game in the first period and did not return. He was injured on a hit by Stars defenseman Mark Fistric. Franzen told Detroit media he suffered a concussion on the play, but Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said he wasn't sure it had been diagnosed a concussion just yet.

Quotable

“We scored early in the first period and in the second period and anytime you do that it gives your team such a lift. We had another outstanding goaltending performance from Kari Lehtonen. I thought our penalty kill was real good tonight. That’s a dangerous power play. Other than them scoring in the last ten seconds of their last one, we did a terrific job. A big part of it is getting the saves. I thought our defense as a whole, as a unit tonight was very good. “

Stars coach Marc Crawford on his team’s 4-1 win over Detroit Thursday night