With the Dallas Stars staring the end of their season in the face, the question making it's way throughout the American Airlines Center was how the Stars would perform on home ice with their backs to the wall.
From the initial drop of the puck, everyone knew that if the Stars wanted to stay alive, Marty Turco would have to make some big saves and the rest of the team would have to put the Wings on their heels immediately.
In the most evenly-matched first period thus far of the series, the Stars and Red Wings got off to a fast-paced start. Clearly both teams were looking to get the lead early and play a protect-the-lead type of game.
The Stars had not only the man advantage for most of the period, but kept a devastating Detroit attack silent for the entirety of the first twenty minutes.
The first Red Wings' penalty came at 6:16 of the first—Niklas Kronwall for tripping, and shortly after the Wings would again fall a man short at 9:43 on a Nicklas Lindstrom interference call.
For the third time in the first period, the Stars got the man advantage when Detroit’s Darren Mccarty took a holding penalty at 13:12.
The Wings were able to stand up to the challenge on every penalty kill in the period. The good point for the Stars though was that by the sound of the first period buzzer, the Stars led in shots on goal with 9 shots to Detroit’s 5. Furthermore, Detroit was kept scoreless after one period.
For the Stars to win in Game 4, they had to own the game's little battles—this meant power plays and shots while keeping the Wings scoreless for as long as possible. Emotions ran high for Stars fans and players as the second period got underway.
The Red Wings would hold the majority of the momentum in the second period, forcing Dallas on the penalty kill three times.
At 6:43 Stephane Robidas visited the "sin bin" for a holding penalty, and Dallas watched Detroit’s shots on goal sky rocket, but the Stars were able to gain some momentum on a Detroit disallowed goal (which i must admit even as a Stars fan was a Detroit goal).
At 12:20, Brenden Morrow took a penalty for cross checking, followed by Steve Ott for elbowing at 15:03. The Stars killed both penalties and found their hard work rewarded with a Dallas goal at 19:37 from Loui Eriksson on a wrist shot past Detroit’s Chris Osgood.
Dallas owned the third period after the only Detroit goal 49 seconds in by Henrik Zetterberg on a wrist shot. At 3:14, Loui Eriksson took a two minute tripping penalty, which was the only black mark on the Stars during the period.
At 5:17, Brian Rafalski would take a tripping penalty to put the Stars on the power play. Mike Modano let Rafalski out early with a power play goal putting the Stars ahead 2-1 at 5:35.
The collective city of Dallas let out a rousing cheer as Detroit’s Game 4 back was broken by a Brenden Morrow wrist shot goal at 14:34 into the third. The final stats for the game left Dallas alive for one more day, even with Detroit outshooting them 32-22.
Game 5 will be in Detroit Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 7 central. The Game will be viewable in the United States on Versus.
Tonight's Three Stars according to NHL.com
1. Marty Turco- Dallas Stars Goaltender (33 saves, 1 goal allowed)
2. Mike Modano- Dallas Stars Center (1 goal, broke 1-1 tie vs Detroit)
3. Brenden Morrow- Dallas Stars Left Wing (1 goal, added insurance to victory)
Photo: Courtsey of Getty Images