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First Round

Stars vow not to be complacent in Game 2 against Predators

'Down to earth' attitude key to extending first-round lead, Zuccarello says

by Tracey Myers @TraMyers_NHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

NASHVILLE -- The Dallas Stars were all on the same page when they spoke about how they would treat Thursday and Friday, two days off before they play the Nashville Predators in Game 2 of the best-of-7 Western Conference First Round at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday (6 p.m. ET; CNBC, SN, TVAS2, FS-TN, FS-SW).

Rest is always important in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. So is keeping things in perspective, following the Stars' 3-2 win in Game 1 on Wednesday. 

"We haven't won anything," Dallas defenseman Ben Lovejoy said Thursday. "We're still the seven seed, we're playing the two seed. [Goalie] Ben Bishop was great, and he was a huge part, maybe the reason we won that game. We can't feel too good about ourselves."

 

[RELATED: Complete Predators vs. Stars series coverage]

 

Even though Dallas put itself in a good spot, forward Mats Zuccarello, who scored the game-winning goal at 10:39 of the third period, said the Stars must remain "down to earth."

"They're still the favorites over there, so we just have to go out, try to do our job and help each other out and be a good team and we have to go from there," Zuccarello said. "A lot of teams that go up one end up losing the series, so we have to be humble and keep working." 

Teams that take a 1-0 lead in a best-of-7 Stanley Cup Playoff series on the road have a record of 140-108 (.565). Teams that take a 1-0 lead, home or away, in a best-of-7 series have a record of 467-214 (.686).

But this is about what the Stars need to do better in Game 2. They can't lean too much on Bishop, who made 30 saves Wednesday. They have to come out better in the first period. Dallas was last (31st) in the NHL with 39 first-period goals; Nashville, ranked 30th, had 53. The Stars need to take advantage of the Predators, who have lost five of their past six home playoff games.

Dallas also needs to feed off the energy of their young players, including 19-year-old defenseman Miro Heiskanen, who had a goal and an assist in Game 1; and 23-year-old forward Jason Dickinson and 22-year-old forward Roope Hintz, who each made his Stanley Cup Playoff debut in Game 1.

Video: DAL@NSH, Gm1: Heiskanen's shot deflects in for PPG

"The first-time players were our best players. I thought they led everybody else to come along with them," Stars coach Jim Montgomery said Wednesday. "And let's not forget how good Bishop was. That first period, [the Predators] controlled every part of the game except the one power-play we had, and Bishop kept us in it."

Dickinson said, "Saturday's going to be big. They're going to want to come out and make a statement, try to take back some of the momentum we may have created, and it's our job to just go out there, keep plying our game and stick to our system."

The Stars did some good things Wednesday. They've got momentum, they've got an edge in the series. But it's just one step, and in the big picture, they know they've got to do a lot more.

"This is a very tough time of year, mentally," Lovejoy said. "The emotions are incredible. You win one game, you feel like you're winning a Stanley Cup. You lose one game you feel like you're going to get swept and the series is over. We've spoken a great deal about that. We need to be even keel."

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