Monday night's Game 3 loss at American Airlines Center was a tough one for the Dallas Stars. But they are ready to move forward to Game 4 Wednesday night (8:30 p.m. CT; NBCSN; KTCK) and try to even their second-round series with the St. Louis Blues.
The Stars scored twice late in the game Monday to tie, only to have the Blues respond quickly both times including the game-winner with 1:38 remaining to pull out a 4-3 victory and take a 2-1 series lead.
"I mean, the playoffs are pretty intense -- pretty crazy," said Stars captain Jamie Benn. "You're going to win games, and you've got to move on, (and) you're going to lose games, and you've got to move on. We're looking forward to the next one and excited to play in front of our fans again."
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"Obviously a disappointing loss but it's part of the game, it's hockey," added Stars defenseman John Klingberg. "But it's playoffs, and it's exciting. Both teams are going to battle hard for games to win. They got away with one (Monday), but we are not in a panic mode whatsoever at all."
The Stars have been in this position before in this year's Stanley Cup Playoffs. In its first-round series against Nashville, Dallas lost Game 3 at home to fall behind, 2-1. Then, the Stars rolled out a superb effort to win Game 4 by a 5-1 score and even the series 2-2.
That's an experience they can lean on as they head into Wednesday's crucial game at the AAC.
"We were in the same position when we were playing Nashville," said Klingberg. "And like we said before, been through ups and downs through the whole year and that's what we learn from. From adversity, you learn, and from tough scenarios in games, you learn too. I think just coming back a couple of times (in Game 3) is huge for us."
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The Stars have talked often about keeping emotions in check, not getting too high or too low. That was the message again as they try to bounce back from Monday's tough loss in Game 3.
"We have been in this situation before, we were down 2-1 last series, we have spoken a lot in this locker room about staying even keel," said Stars defenseman Ben Lovejoy. "You win one playoff game, you feel like you can win the Stanley Cup, you can start planning your parade in your hometown. You lose one game, and it's summertime. We have 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 (Wednesday)."
The Stars held an optional skate Tuesday at the AAC and then met as a team as they prepared for Wednesday's game, looking for ways to fix some of the issues from Game 3. Monday was the first time the Stars had allowed four goals in a game during these playoffs and just the second time that's happened in 27 games dating back through the regular season.
"I thought we gave up too much time and space in our D-zone," said Stars coach Jim Montgomery. "Give the Blues credit, they were really good in the offensive zone with their cycle play and their defensemen being very active. We gave too many chances in that department of our game. In the offensive zone, we didn't possess pucks enough because we didn't move our feet or protect the puck enough."
And now they'll move on to Game 4 -- a big one for the Stars, who can tie the series 2-2 with a win. If they don't, they'll find themselves in a difficult 3-1 hole.
"You try to see what we did last series," said Stars goaltender Ben Bishop. "Obviously, we've got to come out, and we have home ice, and fight for our lives."
Lindell addresses embellishment call
Stars defenseman Esa Lindell met with the media Tuesday at American Airlines Center and addressed his embellishment penalty in Monday night's game.
Lindell was given the minor penalty for diving after he was very animated in falling to the ice twice when he was cross-checked in the back by Blues defenseman Robert Bortuzzo while other players battled for a puck along the wall. Bortuzzo was assessed a minor for cross-checking.
"He crossed at me hard. I wasn't expecting him to come hard again. I'm not that kind of player," Lindell said. "But, you know, there's nothing I can change anymore or affect what happened yesterday. I'm already focused on tomorrow."
As the penalties were being called, Bortuzzo and Lindell confronted each other, Bortuzzo cross-checked him again, and Lindell went down again.
As for the embellishment call, Lindell said: "Well, they called us both, so I guess we both did something there."
Lindell also discussed Pat Maroon's game-winning goal with 1:38 remaining. Maroon knocked Lindell to the ice in front of the Dallas net before scooping a loose puck behind the net and scoring from close range.
"Well, Maroon pushed me there. He got a step on that, so that's why I was a bit late there," Lindell said. "He got a good chance and obviously that was my guy who scored, and I take the blame on it."
Lindell was asked if the refs might have missed a penalty on Maroon.
"Well, no," Lindell said. "They didn't call it, so they didn't."
Stars defenseman Jamie Oleksiak, who has missed the first three games of the St. Louis series with a lower-body injury, did not practice Tuesday and remains day-to-day.
"He's not able to skate right now," Montgomery said, "so we're waiting for that."
For complete postseason coverage, visit Stars Playoff Central.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.
Mark Stepneski has covered the Stars for DallasStars.com since 2012. Follow him on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.