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4

How Sweep It ... Isn't

Sorry, Stars fans. Put 'em away.

Admit it, you got greedy. The Cowboys lose in the first round and the Mavs puke in the playoffs three years in a row and the Rangers remain the Rangers. So, naturally – finally -- when your Dallas Stars took a 3-0 series lead and 1-0 edge in last night’s Game 4, you left the TV to rummage through the broom closet in anticipation of stress-relieving sweep.

Call it premature evacuation.

Thanks to uncharacteristic gaffes by veterans Sergei Zubov and Mike Modano – the most unlikely terrible twosome on the roster, eh? – the Stars lost 2-1 and now must head back to San Jose Friday night for Game 5. Not exactly time to reach for this, because not since 1975 has an NHL team rallied from 0-3.

But still …

Fatigued from playing the night after an overtime game and for the third time in four nights, the teams looked like they’d rather be lounging around with Grand Theft Auto IV. The Stars had a 1-0 lead at home and went on the power play midway through the second period. Safe, right? But just as you started to familiarize yourself with the Red Wings’ roster, Zubov coughed up a lazy pass that, for the second night in a row, silver-plattered a Sharks’ short-handed goal. 1-1. In the third period – where Dallas has been dominant all post-season – Modano was pressured into flipping the puck into the stands for a delay-of-game penalty, setting up San Jose’s game-winner. 2-1.

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For the first time in a long time, the Stars got out-worked. But last night's game was the highest-rated of the season on FSN Southwest (3.1) and the most-watched cable program of the night in Dallas-Fort Worth, so they got that going for them, which is nice.

Not to worry. With Marty Turco standing on his head and Dallas having more scoring options than at any time this millennium, the Stars will still win this series and meet their long-time nemesis in the Conference Finals.

“No one said it was going to be easy,” said the Stars’ Brad Richards.

We can now say it’s going to be queasy. -- Richie Whitt

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