Stars avoid sweep, send West finals back to Detroit
DALLAS – Detroit’s goal with a guy barely in the crease, if at all, didn’t count. Dallas’ goal with a guy clearly in the crease did count.Apparently, that’s what it takes to slow the mighty Red Wings.Loui Ericksson’s goal about 12 minutes after Detroit’s was waved off, then third-period goals from Mike Modano and Brenden Morrow sent the Stars past the Red Wings 3-1 on Wednesday night, preventing the Western Conference finals from ending in a sweep.Game 5 is Saturday night in Detroit.Detroit lost for the first time since April 16, ending a nine-game winning streak that was the franchise’s longest in a single postseason. Goalie Chris Osgood ended a 9-0 run, giving up one goal less than he had in the previous three games combined.But what will frustrate the Red Wings most was the way this game turned in the second period.Pavel Datsyuk put the puck past Marty Turco on a power-play shot from the right circle midway 7:34 into the period, but on-ice officials immediately called it off, saying Tomas Holmstrom interfered with Turco from inside the crease. Detroit coach Mike Babcock stood on the bench arguing his case to no avail.Part of the problem is it’s not a reviewable call. Replays, however, showed that Holmstrom’s skates weren’t touching much of the blue stuff. Commissioner Gary Bettman was here for the game and probably was sitting close enough to a TV to have seen it again.Had it counted, Detroit would’ve been up 1-0. Instead, the game remained tied – until Ericksson scored with 22.7 seconds left in the period, putting Dallas in front for the first time all series.The excitement was short-lived. Just 49 seconds into the third period, and 1:12 after Ericksson’s goal, Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg zipped a shot past Turco to tie it at 1.The Red Wings went on a power play a few minutes later, but failed to capitalize. Seconds after their advantage ended, the Stars went on a power play and Modano cashed in quickly, setting up in the slot and whizzing a one-timer by Osgood.Morrow then added another with 5:26 left, drawing huge roars from a crowd featuring so many Red Wings fans that an octopus was thrown onto the ice to big cheers after the national anthem.Turco made 34 saves, turning away 14 shots in the second period and 15 more in the third period. That included last-minute barrages of 6-on-4 and even 6-on-3 for the final 35.3.Turco beat Detroit for only third time in 21 career tries. But you can say this about him: He’s tough when facing playoff elimination, improving to 5-4.The Stars came in knowing how hard it is to close a team out because they went from leading the last round 3-0 to needing four overtimes in Game 6 to finally knock out the San Jose Sharks.Of course, the Red Wings have experience in being up 3-0, having swept Colorado with an 8-2 victory in Game 4.But Detroit came out defensive, taking only five shots while concentrating on defense. The Red Wings flipped over to an offensive mindset in the second period, but just couldn’t get the breaks – or the official’s rulings – that they needed.Notes: Dallas went 219 minutes, 37.3 seconds into this series before leading. … Osgood gave up three goals twice previously in his streak, both against Colorado. … Play was stopped for a few minutes in the second period because of a broken glass pane behind the net Detroit was shooting at. … Dallas forward Krystofer Barch made his postseason debut, replacing Lehtinen. … Yet another indication of how one-sided this series had been: The Stars didn’t even have one of the three stars selected from the first three games. This time, they had all three (Turco, Morrow, Modano).
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