The Detroit Red Wings' recent bout with inconsistency might be of some concern for coach Mike Babcock.
Putting Chris Osgood in net may be enough to ensure a more complete effort.
The Red Wings will try to help Osgood become the 10th goalie in NHL history to reach 400 career wins Sunday as they host the Dallas Stars, who've won their last three against Detroit.
Babcock considered starting Osgood on Friday at Chicago, but instead opted to let the 38-year-old netminder try for the milestone at Joe Louis Arena.
Osgood picked up No. 399 by making 33 saves in a 4-1 win at New Jersey on Dec. 11. Although he's become the backup to Jimmy Howard for Detroit, 347 of his wins have come for the Red Wings, who drafted him in 1991.
He's 28-12-1 with three ties against the Stars, but Osgood has lost his last three meetings with Dallas, stopping just 11 of 15 shots in a 4-1 loss Oct. 14.
Still, Babcock is hoping his team can unite behind Osgood. While Detroit (20-8-3) has a Western Conference-leading 43 points, it has not always played like one of the NHL's elite over the last three games.
The Red Wings opened the week with a 5-0 home loss to Los Angeles on Monday, then followed by beating St. Louis 5-2 at Joe Louis Arena on Wednesday. Detroit, however, was unable to build on that victory and was thoroughly outplayed in a 4-1 loss to the Blackhawks on Friday.
That defeat left Babcock wondering about the state of his team.
"Shocked, actually, would be a good way to describe it," Babcock said. "I thought we were going to be better and have more guys playing better."
Pavel Datsyuk has a team-leading 37 points but has been held to one assist the last three contests. He's gone without a point in his last two versus Dallas.
The October loss at Dallas was the Wings' third straight and sixth in seven games against the Stars. However, their lone victory during that stretch came in the teams' last meeting at Joe Louis, 4-1 on Nov. 30, 2009.
The Stars (19-10-3) have alternated wins and losses in their last six contests, but improved to 13-2-3 in one-goal games with a 2-1 win at Columbus on Saturday.
After going five straight games without a goal, Brad Richards scored twice to take over the team lead with 14.
Richards, who had a goal with two assists versus Osgood in October, has two goals and nine assists in his last seven games against the Red Wings.
Though Kari Lehtonen stopped 35 shots to avoid a third straight loss Saturday, Andrew Raycroft is likely to get the start for the Stars in this contest.
Raycroft is 5-3-0 with a 2.31 GAA this season, seeing an increased workload this month while Lehtonen deals with a back injury. He's 4-2-0 with a 2.60 GAA versus Detroit.
"We are looking to Raycroft, and this is a situation exactly why you have an experienced guy like (him)," coach Marc Crawford told the Stars' official website this week. "That's great when you've got your goaltender playing as well as (he) has played for us."
Dallas has earned at least one point in 11 of its last 13 games, going 9-2-2.
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