The Dallas Stars got their pride. They got the Joe Louis Arena monkey off Marty Turco’s back. Now – believe it or not – they’re trying to get even.
For those of you that figured the Dallas Stars were primed for cremation when they fell behind the mighty Detroit Red Wings 3-0 in the NHL Western Conference Finals, the exculpation line forms right here. Behind me. As I cavalierly wrote in last week’s Dallas Observer column:
-- if the Stars win the series I'll skate around the Galleria's rink at Christmas in nothing but a black-and-green thong --
It was a joke. An outlandish, humorous, visually disturbing “what if” that had zero chance of “iffing.” Well, almost zero.
After a shocking 2-1 win in Detroit Saturday afternoon, the gritty, stubborn Stars suddenly have all the momentum heading into tonight’s 7 p.m. game at American Airlines Center and on Versus. They still trail 3-2 and, even with a victory tonight, would have to win a Game 7 in their personal house of horrors.
But Dallas is only the fifth NHL team in the last 20 years to even force a Game 6 after trailing 3-0 and no doubt Detroit’s superstar sphincters are cringing. I witnessed this same staggering scenario when I covered the Mavericks-Blazers NBA playoff series in 2003. Dallas cruised to a 3-0 lead, let Portland build some momentum in Game 4, coughed up a home game in Game 5 and got absolutely slaughtered on the road in Game 6 before surviving a nail-biting Game 7 at home.
This one – it feels like a bonus movie after the credits are finished on the main feature – may play out the same way. Because, like their official motto screams, the Stars now fully “Believe!”
Mostly, because Turco is now doing his darndest to control the series. On Saturday he made amazing saves (38 of ‘em, in fact), created scoring chances with aggressive stick-handling and pin-point passing, and wound up winning in Detroit for the first time in 12 career games.
At worst, Turco’s well-documented playoff stigma is a memory and the Stars are again relevant.
At best, I’ll be back here previewing a Game 7 on Wednesday. -- Richie Whitt