Down two games to none, I am going out on a limb and guaranteeing a victory tonight for the Dallas Stars over the Detroit Red Wings.
I admit it does not have the same impact as Captain Mark Messier's guarantee in Game 6 of the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals, but I'm hoping for the same result.
Here are some points as to why I am making such a bold prediction:
- Dallas returns home to Big D and a rocking crowd. If they can get off to a fast start (while remaining disciplined), they can relay around the noise of American Airlines Center and keep the crowd in the game.
- Dallas will be playing with that must-win mentality, and the leadership of their banging captain Brenden Morrow should benefit the squad's energy.
- No Johan Franzen, as he stayed in Detroit for some more testing on his concussion-like symptoms. If Dallas can continue to neutralize the "big three" in Zetterberg, Datsyuk, and Holmstrom, they have a good chance.
- No suspension for Ribeiro is huge, seeing as he is the leading point-getter for the Stars. Osgood got off Scott-free as well, only being fined for his actions at the conclusion to Game 2.
- Dallas' fourth line was great in Game 2 of the series, and I see no reason that changes in Game 3. This gives Coach Dave Tippett the ability to roll all four lines with confidence and keep his big guns fresh.
- Dallas players can put their stick down second on the face-off dot, giving them a slight advantage as to on the road. Winning the draw is especially important against a puck possession team as the Red Wings are.
- The Stars have the last change due to home-ice advantage. Dallas' top line production has been minimal being matched up against Datsyuk and Zetterberg, so coach Tippett needs to utilize last change to avoid that scenario.
Even though it is looking glim for the Stars, I'm sticking by my initial prediction of the Stars taking the series. Whether it's six games or seven, I'll leave that predicament until the final whistle blows of this crucial Game 3.