Dallas Stars

Red Wings 50, Stars 2

The dream is all but dead.

Well, that’s what it feels like, eh?

For three games and 180 minutes over five days in two rinks your Dallas Stars have hurled their unyielding will at the Detroit Red Wings’ superior skill. It’s not that they haven’t won a game. They have never even had a lead.

Yes, it’s that lopsided.

Bless their stubborn hearts, the Stars tried everything in last night’s Game 3 loss at American Airlines Center. They came out with lots of early “jump”, twice launching shots that chipped paint in the first two minutes. They won their share of face-offs. They threw big hits, attempted to match Detroit’s open-ice finesse and even juggled their lines. They tried to turn Detroit’s ballet into a rugby scrum. But in the end, Detroit 5, Dallas 2 felt like an even bigger blowout.

The Stars are now down 0-3, and out. Out of the series. Out of ideas. Out of gas.

Rarely have two teams this deep into the playoffs been headed in such polar opposite directions. The Red Wings have outscored Dallas, 11-4, and won nine consecutive games, most in the NHL in 15 years. Since building a 3-0 lead on the San Jose Sharks last round, the Stars have lost five of six – needing four overtimes for the lone victory.

Brenden Morrow hasn’t been a factor and Mike Modano hasn’t been a factor and Marty Turco has been average at best. When the Stars have needed him to stand on his head, he’s again fallen on his face against Detroit.

“I don't feel I've given our guys enough of a chance to win," said Turco, an atrocious 2-13-5 all-time against Detroit. "But it's a seven-game series so we'll see what happens."

My resignation arrived 1:38 into the third period when Henrik Zetterberg took a turnover on Dallas’ hapless power play, produced a juke that sent Brad Richards cork-screwing into the ice and Turco sprawling into a butterfly before effortlessly scoring a short-hander for a 4-2 lead.

The Stars are saying all the right things. It’s not over ‘til it’s over. One game at a time. AAC even blared Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” as the players left the ice. Yadda, yadda and more yadda.

An NHL team hasn’t rallied from 0-3 to win a series since ’75. We could sit here all day and dissect the Xs and Os. But let’s face it: the Red Wings are better.

The outlook for Wednesday’s Game 4: Detroit may get leading playoff scorer Johan Franzen back from an injury. Perfect. -- Richie Whitt