After playing an impressive first two rounds of the playoffs, the Stars start off the third and final round...sluggish.
At only 3:45 minutes into the first period Mattias Norstrom racked up the first penalty, which would be first of seven more to come after it. Not 34 seconds later, the Stars racked up another penalty, going to Mark Fistric and giving the Wings a five-on-three advantage.
This set up Brian Rafalski with the first power-play goal against the Stars this postseason.
The Stars got another penalty at 13:56 for a hooking call against Toby Petersen, which gave the Wings another chance for a goal. The Wings did not disappoint their fans, rewarding them with another goal at 15:34 of the first period, scored by Johan Franzen.
Franzen, who has been nothing less than perfect during this postseason, has been a valuable asset to Detroit's offense. Scoring many of the goals against Colorado in the the second round, Franzen once again showed his talents tonight in the game against Dallas.
Mike Modano got a hooking call near the end of the first. The Stars were able to kill it off, though, and head to the locker room after a brutal first period.
As the first period ended, I sat at home on my couch angered by what had just happened. Then I took a breath said, "It's only the first period." Then I hoped the Stars went back to the locker room, sat down rested, and talked about a good strategy to get get back the two goals they lost in the first.
Sadly nothing of the sort happened.
The Stars again played as badly as they did in the first. At 6:14 of the second period, a hooking penalty was called on Mike Ribeiro. This gave the Wings another chance to score, and they did at 6:40, when Thomas Holstrom capitalized on the power-play and put Detroit up 3-0.
The scoring did not stop there. At 15:37, Valtteri Filppula scored an even-strength goal, putting the wings up a crushing 4-0.
As Chris Osgood, standing in goal for Detroit, was feeling good about his performance and sensing a possible shut out, Brenden Morrow came through and scored at 18:53, snuffing the shutout out. Even with Morrow's late second period goal, it looked to be a little to late for the Stars.
In the third, no goals were scored even though the Stars got two more penalties. All the Wngs had to do was control the puck and wait for the third to come to an end, then claim their first victory in the series, out-scoring the Stars 4-1.
Now for my thoughts on the game...Personally, I think the officiating in this game was horrible and could have possibly contributed to the Wings' victory, even though the Stars turned over the puck multiple times to the Wings and gave them many chances to score.
The Wings also out-shot the Stars by a big margin. Even with perfect officiating, the way the Stars played tonight, I think the Wings still would have came out with the victory.
In order for the Stars to recover, they need keep major pressure on Detroit while they're in the zone, play every period like its the third period, and start shooting more.
Oh and.... STAY OUT OF THE DAMN BOX!
Now the Stars know that getting cheap penalties is going to kill them! If the Stars keep playing like they did tonight, well, this series will end early and give Detroit another chance at a sweep.
The Stars still do have a good chance though at winning the series, if they forget their track record against Detroit in the regular season. Yes, the Stars have a tough time with Detroit, and the only wins they had in the regular season were with back up goalie Mike Smith..who now plays for Tampa bay.
Look at the way Turco has been playing though in the playoffs so far, he's been phenomenal. He also needs to forget about regular season and keep his focus on now.
The Stars can beat Detroit if they just BELIEVE.
Game two is on Saturday at 6:00 pm EST.