Boy, what a difference one game can make at this point in a series.
The Dallas Stars will go into tonight’s Game 6 with their backs pushed firmly against the wall with no breathing room left to occupy. Many believe that the Stars have essentially lost the keys of victory and will surrender another win to Anaheim and start planning their vacations by 10:00 tonight, while others believe this is the exact situation the Stars need to be in to win not just this game but the entire series.
It will be up to the Stars to decide tonight how they want their playoff legacy to be seen. Puck drops at 7:00 PM CT and can be found on NBCSN or FSSW.
The Ducks must be feeling good right now knowing that they could be 5 hours away from abandoning the first round for the first time in the last 5 years. They will come in to a hopefully hostile American Airlines Center, where the Stars as well as their fans will hope to derail the momentum from Anaheim’s train and force a Game 7 back in Orange County. The Ducks looked more than perfect Friday night at the Honda Center, scoring 4 times on the power play and making Dallas look beyond humiliating overall. They will look to do the same tonight and move on to face a possible SJ or LA matchup. If they can obliterate the Stars defense as they did last game and capitalize on their power plays as well, they will be ready to fly home and take a LONG and deserved nap while awaiting their next challenger. They hold the high ground right now but need to make sure to not get too comfortable with the lead they hold, especially with their recent play in the uproarious AAC. The Ducks only lineup shortages reported are Stephane Robidas who is done for the rest of the season with a broken leg and Tim Jackman who is still recovering from a broken hand. Matt Beleskey is on a day to day basis and might be able to play as early as tonight.
It is a fearful thing to watch your team go down 2-3 in a best of 7 series. The Stars drug themselves around in Game 5 on Friday after destroying Anaheim the previous two games in Dallas. They now face a no-more-mess ups situation and must come out victorious not just in Game 6 tonight but also in Game 7 on Tuesday. The locker room feels very confident at where they are right now and are ready to face the challenge and adversity that comes with possible elimination. Lindy Ruff is looking to make the best roster possible and has therefore made a few lineup changes. He has not revealed what they truly are but has promised that the power play, after going an atrocious 0-7 on Friday, will be jumbled thoroughly. There is also due cause to believe that Erik Cole, who has been scratched since Game 3 of the series, will be in tonight for Ray Whitney, who will in return take the healthy scratch for the game. The Stars must recall their former ways of Game 3 and 4 and be ready to put on a clinic tonight that Anaheim will never see coming. If they can string together better defensive pressure and Kari, the likely starter for tonight, can shake off his 16 for 21 save performance and the hook that came with it replacing him in net with Tim Thomas, they should be able to fight out a W. The offense needs to remain playing fast paced and they cannot afford to fall asleep at any part during tonight’s tilt. They must remain focused and know that they no longer hold the momentum and MUST be the ones to walk out of the AAC tonight with a win on their backs. Injury report is very small for Stars with only Patrik Nemeth as a game time and likely scratched decision due to an upper-body injury.
So Stars fans, we have great cause for concern but our boys have done it before and hopefully will be able to find a way to do it again and defeat the odds. It looks as though it will be another physical game and a no holds barred trench war. If they can win, there will be great need for joy and not remorse. Either way, be proud of what this young Stars squad has accomplished this year. It has been a great season and let’s pray it is extended tonight and hopefully through Tuesday as well. This might be my last chance to say this for a while, so LET’S GO DUCK HUNTING AND LET”S GO STARS! And inhale….