Mike Modano summed it up best though.
“They’re in a ‘do or die’ type situation and this is an elimination game for us,” he said. “I like this situation for us – on the road, in a place where we’re comfortable and have won before. We know what we have to do and it’s easy to focus on the job at hand.”
Dallas is 8-0-1 in its last nine games in San Jose, including taking the first two games of this series. All of the games have been close and this is a tight series. But up, three games to one, the Stars have confidence.
“I think (our confidence) is high and I think it should be,” said Modano. “We’ve put ourselves in a great position. It’s hard to win four in a row in any playoffs in any sport and we knew they weren’t going to just lay down in Game Four. We knew beforehand that this was going to be a tough series. But we’ve worked hard to put ourselves in this position and we’ll try and take advantage of it.”
The Stars only have to win one of the next three games. But they are only looking at one game – the one Friday night in San Jose.
“We’re sticking with what has been our focus in the playoffs all along, ‘the next game is the only thing that matters.’” Said Stars Head Coach Dave Tippett. “We’re focused on what we have to do in Game Five. That is our only focus. We’re going to go out there and try and win a hockey game.”
All of the games have been tight in the third period, including two that have gone to overtime that went the way of the Stars.
“I think the games have been very close,” said Tippett. “It’s been a play here and a play there that have decided these games. Those are things that dictate outcomes. We have to continue to focus on what we have to do to get one more win. That’s what our plan is.”
Forward Stu Barnes did not make the trip with the team to San Jose and is day-to-day after getting hit in the head in Game Three.
“It was a positive sign that Stu got a good workout in yesterday, but we’re going to take it day-by-day with him,” said Tippett. “He didn’t feel like he was up to snuff so there was no need to drag him out here on the road with us so he stayed home.”
The Stars hope that a strong effort Friday night will led to their first trip to the Western Conference Finals since 2000.
“We’re going to keep it simple and move the puck well and skate,” said Modano. “We’ve concentrated on playing as five when we’re out there together with a pack mentality. Going on the road always seems to bring a little more focus and the details of the game are emphasized. You know that they are going to come hard in their home building and you prepare yourself for that leading up to the game.”
Friday night’s game is exclusive on VERSUS. Fans can listen to the game on News/Talk 820 WBAP.