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More Than a Big Win

by Seamus O'Callahan / Dallas Stars

That was big win.

Yes, my alter ego is Captain Obvious, but really – that was a huge win. Massive. Gigantic. Enormous. Gi-normous. (OK – so now we’re making up words).

Consider a few numbers:
  • The eventual winners of the 15 total playoff series played in the 2007 Stanley Cup Playoffs went 13-2 in Game 1’s of their respective series (86.7%).
  • Since the NHL adopted the current conference-based playoff format in 1993-94, clubs winning Game 1 have gone on to win the series 133 of 195 times, or 68.2% (all series best-of-seven). For the Conference Quarter-Finals only, clubs winning Game 1 have won 74 of 104 series (71.2%).
  • Since moving to Dallas, the Stars are 8-1 in playoff series in which they were victorious in Game 1, while going 4-9 in series when dropping the first game.

If the Stars are to get the first round proverbial monkey off their collective backs, Game 1 was a must. This team has been “chasing” playoff series for the last few years and it’s a big reason why they have not been successful.

Dallas did what it had to do – make Anaheim pay for taking penalties and score on the power play. The Stars probably never imagined they would score four with the extra-man for the first time in the playoffs since 1998, but they did.

The best part of Thursday’s game was that the Stars did not let up and sit on the lead. They scored the first goal and then went out and scored another one. The final was 4-0, and it could have been worse.

The Stars played with patience and discipline and took advantage when Anaheim could not do the same. Hockey is about special teams and goaltending. And that is especially true in the playoffs.

Dallas went 4-for-7 on the power play while killing all three of Anaheim’s power plays.

Marty Turco picked up where he left off last season when he led all playoff net-minders with a 1.30 goals-against-average. He now has four shutouts in his last eight playoff games and improved that GAA to a sparkling 1.16.

“We may have won this game, 4-0, but we all believe that this series is going to be very tight,” said Steve Ott, who scored the game-winner. “We just have to keep going. They have a good team over there and we have to keep playing hard.”

This is uncharted territory for Dave Tippett and Marty Turco. They may not know exactly what to do after winning a Game 1 and leading a playoff series for the first time since April of 2003.

No, that’s not true. They know exactly what they need to do.

Go get Game 2.
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