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Stars have chance to tie series

by Brian Hunter

Detroit played their fourth straight game without Johan Franzen, who is sidelined with concussion-like symptoms. Franzen's 12 postseason tallies are over 23% of Detroit's 51 goals in 15 games.
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In the Western Conference Semifinals, the Dallas Stars made sure San Jose wouldn't pull off a historic comeback from an 0-3 deficit by winning Game 6 in quadruple overtime.

In the Western Finals, the Stars will attempt to do what the Sharks could not and force a seventh game by beating the Detroit Red Wings on Monday night at American Airlines Center.

The Stars have trimmed a 3-0 series lead by the Wings to 3-2, and after Saturday afternoon's 2-1 win at Joe Louis Arena, there was no shortage of confidence in the Dallas dressing room.

"We have momentum right now and it's how you're going to react Monday, how are you going to come out of the gate," center Mike Ribeiro said. "I think our first period has been good lately and it's the same way, we need to approach it the same way. It's a do-or-die for us."

Trevor Daley got the Stars off to a good start in Game 5 by scoring the game's first goal, and Joel Lundqvist snapped a tie in the second period with the game-winning tally. In net, Marty Turco ended his Joe Louis Arena woes by recording 38 saves.

"It feels good. It feels more good about the situation we're in, the environment we're in and the ability we had to overcome it," said Turco, who had been 0-9-2 in Detroit while wearing a Stars' sweater. "It's a huge challenge that only fractionally got better tonight, the way we're looking at it, and if we're able to do this we thought we'd need at least one here and now we're going to need at least two.

"For me, it has been a long time, but something I'd never thought that wouldn't happen in my career. We're excited to go back home and continue to push this thing along."

If the Stars have felt any pressure knowing that one more defeat ends their Stanley Cup dreams and sends them to the golf course, they're not showing it.

"It's extremely tough, just to hang around and do it, they're tough, but it's a lot of fun," winger Steve Ott said. "I'm having a blast. We're down 3-2, we were down 3-0, and I still am having just as much fun as if I were up 3-0, so for us the pressure's still not on us. We're just going out there and having fun playing a hard, structured game and coming up with wins."

In Turco they trust — Despite what the numbers said, not for a moment did his Dallas teammates expect anything less from Turco than a big effort on Saturday.

"I saw it before the game even started, just the focus he had, his preparation," Stars captain Brenden Morrow said. "And then once the game started, he was real comfortable back there, playing pucks, reading plays, making those passes – I think he hit (Niklas) Hagman on a 2-on-1. But, you know, he's given us a chance to win every night."

Hagman was denied by Red Wings goalie Chris Osgood on his odd-man rush, but Turco would later earn the only assist on Lundqvist's goal 6:04 into the second. He also started the play that resulted in Daley's score to open the game.

"He's the best in the game at it," Daley said of Turco's ability to move the puck. "He's like a third defenseman because he passes it better than most of us."

Mike Modano echoed Morrow's sentiment that Turco was hardly to blame for the Stars falling into such a deep hole. Up and down the team, the feeling seemed to be that it was time for Dallas to come through for its goalie the way Turco has so many times come through for the Stars.

"We talked about it before the game and we just felt you give us enough opportunities here and one of these days we're going to play well and he's going to stand out and win us a game here," Modano said. "That's the great thing about sports — you get a lot of second chances, a lot of chances to prove yourself over again and erase a lot of doubt anybody has in you."

Still without Franzen — Is the loss of leading goal-scorer Johan Franzen starting to catch up to the Red Wings?

Franzen, who tops all skaters in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with 12 goals, hasn't played since the series opener because of concussion-like symptoms. Detroit won the first two games he sat, taking what looked to be an insurmountable three-game lead over Dallas, but the Wings have scored just one goal in each of their two losses.

''We had lots of shots on net and we missed the net 19 more times,'' Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. ''And we had three quality chances that we didn't even get a shot on net.''

Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, the Wings' leading scorers during the regular season, had picked up their play in the absence of Franzen, but both were held scoreless on Saturday.

Holding them in check was no small feat as far as Dallas coach Dave Tippett was concerned — as the home team, the Wings had the final change and could match their top line against whatever unit of Stars they chose.

"We went in knowing that we wouldn't be able to get the specific matchup we wanted," Tippett said. "We had our whole group ready. When you get on against those guys, you have to check very well. They're still going to get some chances — they're great players — but you've got to deny as many as you can. … Our group as a whole defended better tonight than they we had early in the series."

An expanded role — Dallas center Toby Petersen's fortunes have changed dramatically since the Playoffs began.

In the first round against Anaheim, the fourth-liner played as little as 2:13 in a game and didn't log more than eight minutes once. He managed more than 14 minutes of ice time in Game 6 against San Jose, but that game also lasted more than 120 minutes before Morrow scored in the fourth overtime.

But Petersen's stock has gone up in the conference finals. When the Stars staved off elimination with a 3-1 win in Game 4 on Wednesday, he played almost 20 minutes on a line that was largely responsible for checking Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg.

Detroit had home ice in Game 5, making it more difficult for Tippett to use that line exclusively on Saturday, but Petersen still saw his fair share of time trying to shut down two of the most explosive players in the NHL.

"He's playing very, very valuable minutes against top players, and he's getting the job done for us," Tippett said. "He probably typifies when you talk about players that play the game fast or play with pace — he is one of those guys who is right there. He's not a big guy but is willing to get in the trenches and plays very fast. And that's what's made him a good player in this series."

Material from wire services and team broadcast media was used in this report.

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