(Sports Network) - Home openers are already accompanied by extra excitement and anticipation, but given the Stars' opponent tonight their first home game of the season should have some added emotion.
That's because current Detroit Red Wings forward Mike Modano will play his first game in Dallas since leaving the only franchise he has ever known this past offseason as the two clubs clash tonight at American Airlines Center.
Modano began his NHL career when the Minnesota North Stars selected him with the first overall pick of the 1988 draft. He would go on to play in 1,459 games with the Stars franchise and in the process led the club to a 1999 Stanley Cup championship while becoming the all-time leader among North American-born skaters with 557 goals and 1,359 points.
With the Stars missing the postseason for the second straight spring last year, the club decided not to offer 40-year-old a contract and the Livonia, Michigan-born Modano joined the Red Wings as a free agent.
Modano scored on his first shot in a Red Wings sweater last Friday in Detroit's 4-0 home-opening win, but he hasn't logged another point since.
That hasn't mattered to the Red Wings, who beat Chicago on the road the following night before Tuesday's 5-4 home shootout loss to the Avalanche.
Johan Franzen notched his 10th career two-goal game, Pavel Datsyuk scored the 200th goal of his career and Patrick Eaves also lit the lamp, but Colorado's Brandon Yip scored the only goal of the shootout.
Jimmy Howard mad 34 saves in the loss.
"Anytime you get out-worked in your own building, that is unacceptable," Detroit head coach Mike Babcock said.
The Red Wings were playing on the same day in which four-time Stanley Cup champion Kirk Maltby announced his retirement. Maltby spent nearly 14 of his 16 NHL seasons with Detroit and was a member of the club's "grind line."
Chris Osgood is expected to be in net for the Red Wings tonight and he is 4-1-1 in his last games versus the Stars with a 2.61 goals-against average.
The Stars have kicked off their post-Modano era with a 2-0-0 start, the club's best since it won the first five games of the 2006-07 season. After an overtime win over New Jersey last Friday, Dallas recorded a 5-4 shootout win at the New York Islanders the following night.
The Stars blew a 4-2 third-period lead, but Mike Ribeiro notched the game- winner in the third-round of the shootout. Ribeiro finished with two assists as well, but his weekend didn't get much better after he was arrested last Sunday night for public intoxication. He should be on the ice for this game, though.
"To come out of the two games here in the New York area and get four points, it's really huge," Stars head coach Marc Crawford said.
Benn won't play tonight due to concussion-like symptoms suffered versus the Islanders.
The Stars have won two straight and five of their last six over the Red Wings and have also won five straight as the host over Detroit.
Lehtonen is 1-2-0 with a 3.68 GAA in three career starts versus the Red Wings.