The past weekend of no Stars hockey seems like it lasted forever.
But Game 3 is here and so are the Stars. The boys have returned home and are ready to attempt to conquer a 2 game homestand.
They skated for about a 45 minute practice session today in Frisco and although down 0-2, the spirits are still high and everyone in the locker room is still excited and hungry. The first playoff experience jitters looked as if they had vanished into thin air after Game 2’s astounding yet non-rewarding performance. They look to play the same way tonight in Game 3 and start where they left off. They can easily take the series back even if they continue their play and win both at home. But, there are a few pitfalls that they will need to avoid in their homecoming if they are looking to avoid the sweep and stay away from the golf course any longer:
1. STOP FALLING ASLEEP
I know I must sound like a broken record now but they can’t seem to stop falling into this trap. I can’t count how many times this year that the Stars have fallen asleep after taking an early lead. They feel like they’ve taken the game into their hands and start to skate slower and give pucks away easier. This leads to easy chances for Anaheim and as soon as they found themselves up they find themselves tied and eventually trailing again. If the Stars can consistently play for 60 minutes and use their fast pace and power, Stars could walk out of tomorrow with a 1 game deficit between them and the “best” team in the West. Stay away from the joys of being ahead and keep your head down and pushing forward till the third horn.
2. Don’t let the home crowd get to you too much
This will be a blessing and possible curse for the Stars in tomorrow and Wednesday night’s tilts. The Stars now enjoy a two game homestand in which they will most likely see a packed to the brim arena full of fans who have waited 6 long years to see them back in the postseason for both games. This could cause trouble. With all the new kids on the roster that just experienced their first playoff game 5 days ago, the loud noises cheering their names is gonna have to be a change they can overcome. If they can adjust naturally and keep their minds focused on the game at hand, it won’t be a problem. But if they don’t, we may see those golf pictures being retweeted in a few days. They need to stay calm and don’t let the noise get to them. The fans are trying nothing more than to help them (except for those devils wearing orange) and are looking for them to succeed.
3. Forget about the 0-2 deficit
They were extremely good about leaving the Game 1 loss behind them in Game 2 on Friday. Now it will be harder to forget because it’s double but they just need to keep their spirits high. When they step on the ice, they need to think that it’s Game 1 and that winning it will be crucial to get ahead. They’ve skated extremely well against this squad the past two games and need to keep the intensity flowing. If they can constantly lock down their own zone and Kari can hold the crease, it will be a walk in the park. Oh, don’t forget to demolish Andersen at the other end. If they can put the losses behind them and play their best hockey, we won’t have to worry about an 0-3 deficit.
The Stars still hold decent cards in this hand. The deficit is gonna be a stinger to overcome but they can do it. Game 3 will be a key to see who owns the series. If the Stars follow these, Anaheim will be looking to scamper away by the end of tomorrow. Keep praying and believing, and Go Stars!!!!