The Stars would go into game three glad to be at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, thinking that being on home ice would help them turn the tide in this series.
From goaltender Marty Turco, to forwards Mike Modano and Brenden Morrow, the entire team needed a new focus and motivation going into Monday night’s game, as if staring a 3-0 Red Wings series lead wasn’t enough.
The Stars entered the ice with high hopes and a pumped up crowd at the American Airlines Center: nestled in the heart of Dallas. Everyone in the building, watching, and listening from the Motor City to Europe, knew tonight could be the beginning of the end for the Stars playoff run.
The first period was much like a Tale of Two Teams. "It was the best of times, and it was the worst of times." In the opening minutes, Dallas would immediately set the tone with controlling the puck, shots on goal, and scoring opportunities...until Pavel Datsyuk scored for Detroit at 9:27 on a backhand goal.
Dallas would not let the Wings ruin their night, and answered at 15:13 via a Niklas Grossman wrist shot past Chris Osgood.
Detroit immediately answered back with a second Pavel Datsyuk goal on another backhand at 15:50.
After one frame, the shots were even at 7 apiece. Dallas ended the period looking focused on the task at hand, the man advantage thanks to a Kirk Maltby interference penalty.
The second period began well for Dallas as the Stars tied the game at two almost immediately after the Maltby penalty ended. The goal came from Brad Richards at 3:47 on a wrist shot.
The Stars kept putting great chances and quick shots on goal, but Detroit’s defense and Osgood would prove up to the challenge, and would respond with a Jiri Hudler backhand goal at 11:54.
The only penalty was called at 12:31 on Detroit’s Mikael Samuelsson for cross checking.
For Dallas, the old saying “close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades" is beginning to be fact. The Stars again found themselves down by one at the end of the period.
The Stars would need a huge boost to make this series 2-1 rather than 3-0. The second period ended with both teams tied again in shots on goal, at 14 for each team.
The third period began slightly in Dallas’ favor, with a penalty on Detroit’s Tomas Holmstrom for goalkeeper interference 18 seconds into the period. The power play for Dallas would be the least of their worries, as Henrik Zetterberg scored a shorthanded goal at 1:38.
As a Stars fan, it’s pretty heartbreaking when your team is facing a 3-0 series lead against the Red Wings and Detroit scores a shorthanded goal to go up by two at the beginning of the third.
At 3:06 of the period, Darren McCarty was called for hooking, but it would not yield a goal for the Stars.
With Dallas throwing everything but the kitchen sink at Osgood, hoping to get closer in the game, Detroit scored the definite game-clincher at 17:19 on a wrist shot from Pavel Datsyuk. This gave the forward a hat-trick for the game, and Detroit a 3-0 series lead over the Stars.
Brad Winchester earned himself a roughing penalty for Dallas at 19:12, and the two teams would end the period with Dallas having earned 18 shots on goal to Detroit’s 21.
Game 4 at the American Airlines Center, and the probable end to this series, will be Wednesday, May 14th at 7pm Central. The game will be nationally televised in the United States on Versus, live from Dallas.
Photo: Courtesy of Getty Images via Detroit Redwings Online.
Links: Courtesy of nhl.com