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Third line taking Starring role for Dallas

Hemsky, Roussel, Faksa have come up big against Wild in Games 1 and 2

by Steve Hunt / Correspondent

FRISCO, Texas -- Jamie Benn leads the Dallas Stars in scoring with four points through the first two games of their Western Conference First Round series with the Minnesota Wild.

But the third line of Antoine Roussel (goal), Radek Faksa (goal) and Ales Hemsky (two assists) have been key to Dallas' 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 series.

Game 3 is Monday at Xcel Energy Center (8:30 p.m. ET; CNBC, SN, TVA Sports 2, FS-SW, FS-N, FS-WI).

Roussel scored a peculiar goal in a 2-1 win in Game 2 on Saturday when the puck deflected off his skate and then off the back of Minnesota goalie Devan Dubnyk's mask before crossing the line. 

Faksa, a first-round pick (No. 13) in the 2012 NHL Draft, had the game-winning goal in Game 1, scoring in his Stanley Cup Playoff debut on a wrist shot from the slot early in the second period.

Video: MIN@DAL, Gm2: Stars pinball the puck around for goal

"They've been very good for us. They're probably the line that deserves to play the most, but I think they realize where they're slotted," coach Lindy Ruff said.

Hemsky has had several different linemates during his nearly two seasons with Dallas. Hemsky, who is making his first playoff appearance since 2010 with the Edmonton Oilers, likes the chemistry he, Faksa and Roussel have developed.

"We clicked pretty well when we started playing together. The main thing is we just knew our role," Hemsky said. "We play more defense first and then create offense from that, and if you can chip in, you chip in. The main thing is don't give up anything, and I think we did a pretty good job on that part."

Hemsky, who like Faska is from the Czech Republic, has taken his teammate under his wing.

"Ales helped me a lot because he's got a lot of experience. He's from the same country, so he can give me advice. We speak the same language," said Faksa, who had five goals and seven points in 45 games during the regular season. "I'm living in his house. It's nice. I feel at home there. It's a lot better than staying in a hotel."

Hemsky noticed a big difference in Faksa in December when he returned to the Stars following a stint in the minors. 

"Well, I think he just realizes he's got to do a role and he's focused on that. He doesn't have to try to do anything extra," Hemsky said. "He's been a great addition for us. He can do a lot of things."

Faksa hasn't just impacted Games 1 and 2 on the scoresheet. He also won a key faceoff against Wild captain Mikko Koivu with six seconds remaining in Game 2 that helped clinch the win. 

Minnesota was on the power play after forward Patrick Eaves was called for cross-checking with six seconds left. With Dubnyk already on the bench for an extra skater, Minnesota had a 6-on-4 advantage, but Faksa stepped up to the right circle in the Dallas zone and won the draw with Koivu, allowing the puck to be cleared.

Video: MIN@DAL, Gm1: Faksa finishes feed from Hemsky

"He's got a lot of confidence in his game and I trust him in every situation, which is a good thing," Ruff said. "He's got a big body and right now that's his role for me, is go out there and take those [key faceoffs]."

The line of Hemsky, Faksa and Roussel has been strong in the first two games of the series, but Roussel knows Game 3, which will be played on Minnesota's home ice, will have a different feel. 

"It's going to be a hard battle. Two years ago [against the Anaheim Ducks], we were in that situation. We were down 0-2 and we came back 2-2," Roussel said. "The next game is a huge game for us and it's a huge game for them too, so I expect a lot of battles. Just going to have to keep our cool, have fun and just enjoy the moment."

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