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Stars run out of comebacks against Blues in wild Game 3 loss

Tie it three times but can't answer Maroon goal, trail Western series

by Dave Stubbs @Dave_Stubbs / NHL.com Columnist

DALLAS -- If the NHL staged a Stanley Cup Playoff game with a tennis ball on the road, this was it: a four-goal blizzard in the third period Monday night at American Airlines Center, missing only someone's mom calling a kid in for supper.

At the final horn, the St. Louis Blues had prevailed 4-3 against the Dallas Stars in Game 3 of the Western Conference Second Round, giving the Blues a 2-1 edge in the best-of-7 series. Game 4 is here Wednesday (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVAS).

"We got outworked tonight," Stars forward Tyler Seguin said. "I thought the last 20 (minutes) for sure was better for us (but) they won more battles. They were a more desperate team and we didn't respond."

 

[RELATED: Complete Blues vs. Stars series coverage]

 

Three times, the Stars clawed back from being a goal down, the third period a wild back-and-forth see-saw that had the flavor of last-shot-wins.

Twice in the third, Dallas brought the crowd of 18,532 out of their seats with a tying goal. But each time, the Blues quickly responded with the go-ahead goal, Pat Maroon scoring the game-winner with 1:38 left.

The loss reminded more than one Stars player of Game 3 in their first-round series against the Nashville Predators, a 3-2 loss. Dallas rebounded from that one with a 5-1 win in Game 4, going on to eliminate the Predators in six games. 

Video: STL@DAL, Gm3: Blues, Stars tally four late in 3rd

Teams that win Game 3 of a best-of-7 Stanley Cup Playoff series that was tied 1-1 have a series record of 213-103 (.674), including 1-3 in the 2019 first round.

"We've been in this situation before," Stars defenseman Ben Lovejoy said. "You win one playoff game, you feel like you can win the Stanley Cup and you can start planning your parade in your hometown. You lose one game and it's summertime. We've talked about being even keel, knowing that you need to come out and be ready for every game. We played our best game of the playoffs in Game 4 against Nashville and we need to come out and do that again in two nights."

Defenseman John Klingberg liked the character the Stars showed by rallying to pull even before the Blues won it with their late goal.

"Yes, we can [move past this quickly]," Klingberg said. "They're playing their hearts out too. Both teams really tried to make a difference out there today and obviously it was a hard third period. But if we look at ourselves, we showed some character coming back two, three times. It's going to be ups and downs this whole series."

Video: Blues defense was the foundation in Game 3 victory

It indeed was a game of highs and lows for Dallas forward Andrew Cogliano, who had his stick lifted on a second-period breakaway by Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson, then scored the Stars' second goal, at 13:06 of the third, giving Dallas a tie that lasted a little more than a minute.

"It's obviously difficult," Cogliano said. "This is what the playoffs is about. You put a lot into the game and obviously there's times when you win them and you feel really good and there's times when you lose them and it's a bad feeling. Tonight you think about what you can do better. You think about the game and then you park it and you get ready for the next one. That's all you can do. 

"I thought overall (the Blues) were the better team. They did a really good job after those goals, they kind of came right back at us and forced us to play in our end. I thought that was the difference in the game. When it was close at the end we kept tying it, but usually the team that plays better most of the night wins it."

The Stars were down this road against the Predators and responded in grand style. They'll channel that on Wednesday, or they'll be headed back to St. Louis one loss from the summertime that Lovejoy and the rest of this team want no part of.

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