Former Stars defenseman Craig Ludwig is a veteran of 17 NHL seasons and has played in 177 career playoff games, winning two Stanley Cups. Each morning after a Stars playoff game, Luds will post here on DallasStars.com to take you inside the game. He will share some of what he is seeing in the match-up that is going right, what is going wrong, and some of the "games inside the game" that will play big roles in the outcome of each contest and eventually the series.
Honestly, I'm speechless. Five days ago, it looked like this Stars team had the momentum and Vancouver has basically swooped into Dallas and took it away. First thing's first this is not on Marty Turco. He's doing his part and has given his team a chance to win. Marty has played great and that has to continue if the Stars are to have any chance of extending this series.
Right now you're hearing people say things like, "They just have to win a game. Just go win a game." But now, I think the real mentality the team has to have is, "Let's go out there and win every shift." They can't really look at the game itself but just concentrate on the moment and look at each shift you play. As long as your mentality is to go out and beat the guy across from you, and start with that little tiny piece, all of those little pieces add up and hopefully you win the game. That's all it is right now beat the guy across from you nine out of 10 times and Marty Turco will do his part.
But you can't just look at winning the game. You have to win all of the battles inside the game, little-by-little.
The line of Trevor Linden, Taylor Pyatt, and Bryan Smolinski is doing the job for the Canucks right now, just like the Halpern line was getting it done for the Stars early in this series. Their checking line is making plays for them because they are determined and they are getting to areas of the ice that are hard to get to.
Unfortunately, the series is very much like the game we are playing. The problem is, we are chasing in some of these games and now the Stars are chasing the series. When you chase a game or a series, thing can come back to haunt you. Now, there is no margin for error.
This team has shown it can come back this year, winning games in the third period after being down. Now they have to stage their biggest comeback of the season. Is it do-able? Yes, but it's time for the clichés to kick in.
You have to take it one game at a time. We have to win every shift. Win the first period and go from there. These are games that clichés were invented for. And they are true.
The good news is that the Stars have played their two best games of the series in Vancouver and that's where the next game is. And the best news is that Dallas has to win three games, and two of them are in Vancouver. Right now, I'm not looking at Dallas going up there to steal a game out of Van. I'm looking at the Stars winning up there and then "stealing" one out of our own building. How screwed up does that sound, but that's what it is.
There's an old saying in hockey, that the toughest game to win in any playoff series is that fourth one. The big problem the Stars have is that they have three chances to win the fourth one. But you can't look at it like that. You have to look at only Game Five, and like I said, look at each individual shift.
Now the Stars coaching staff needs to find every positive they can talk about with the team in preparation for Game Five, starting with how good we have played on the road. Anything that they can find can help this team be prepared mentally and keep going.
Win Game Five and see what happens. If they can do it, a Game Seven is surely possible. And what better place to play it for the Stars than up in Vancouver? But, they can't get to a Game Seven if they don't get through Five.