Take that, Detroit hex.
Staring their summer vacation in the face for the second straight time, the Dallas Stars didn't blink as they staved off elimination again with a dramatic 2-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals Saturday afternoon at Joe Louis Arena. The suddenly tight series now heads back to Texas, where Game 6 will be played Monday evening at American Airlines Center (7 p.m., Versus).
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The win snapped Dallas' 10-game playoff losing streak in Detroit dating back to 1992, while goalie Marty Turco won for the first time in 12 career games at Detroit's downtown rink.
More significantly, it postponed any ideas the Red Wings had in advancing to the Stanley Cup finals for the first time since 2002.
"We felt if you give us enough opportunities here one of these days we're going to play well and (Marty's) going to stand out," Mike Modano said. "The great thing about sports is you get a lot of chances to prove yourself over again and erase a lot of doubt that anybody has in you. We felt positive, and everyone felt good and loose…there was nothing to lose out there."
Trevor Daley and Joel Lundqvist scored for the Stars, who are attempting to become just the third team in NHL history to overcome an 0-3 deficit in a best-of-seven series. Turco turned aside 38 shots in a calm and cool performance that was reminiscent of how he looked in previous series wins against Anaheim and San Jose.
"There wasn't any better time than now," Turco said about creating some new mojo in Motown. "Right from the onset the buildup was there for me. Just being ready and focused was the way I was approaching it."
"There have been some good games here and we lost, while others have been bad," coach Dave Tippett said. "We believed we were due, but we felt that if we put the we in, we could win. I loved what we did in the first 10 minutes of the game. I loved our attitude. It's all about the group, and it's on to another step. We're not going to go away. We'll be there for Game 6, and we'll be ready to go."
Turco set the tone early with a sparkling save on Daniel Cleary just 85 seconds in, sliding to his left to deny a 2-on-1 opportunity. It was a play that could have sent the Red Wings on their way. Instead, it gave the Stars the jolt they needed to exorcise some demons.
"It was a gutty performance by my team to help me get over the schneid," Turco said. "This team hasn't made any excuses for what's gone wrong. We just weren't playing well, but now we're playing a lot better. This was a big game. It feels good, but it feels more good about the situation we were in and the ability that we were able to overcome it. We thought we were going to need at least one here, and now we need two."
Jiri Hudler scored the lone goal for Detroit, which lost for the first time in eight home playoff games this spring. Goalie Chris Osgood made 19 saves in losing his second straight.
Throughout the season and into the postseason, the Stars have been a streaky team. They've had spurts of brilliance mixed with stretches full of clunkers. After losing the first three of this series, it now appears the club is righting the ship, with Turco manning the wheel. The netminder has made 71 saves in the past two wins.
"I saw it before the game started, his preparation and confidence," captain Brenden Morrow said. "Once the game started he was really comfortable back there. He's given us a chance to win every night."
With the game tied at 1 after the first 20 minutes, Lundqvist notched the winner six minutes into the second period with his second goal of the playoffs. Turco's clearing attempt went off a Detroit player and bounced high out of his own zone before landing near Lundqvist, who raced over the Red Wings blueline on a 2-on-1. Lundqvist skated into the right circle before roofing a wrist shot into the top-right corner.
"Getting an assist on the game winner doesn't happen very often," Turco said. "I'm always looking to help the guys out."
Daley gave the Stars the early lead with his first goal of the postseason nine minutes into the game. Turco again started the play with a nifty outlet pass to Niklas Hagman, who in turn fed Brad Richards in the neutral zone. Richards penetrated the Red Wings blueline before dropping a pass between his legs to a trailing Daley, who wristed a shot past Osgood.
It was the second straight game Dallas forged ahead to start the contest, something Modano knew was needed if Dallas was going to have a chance in the haunted building.
"Our track record here plays tricks on the mind, but we felt the first 10 minutes was a great start and something we needed for our psyche and our overall mindset," he said. "We did some things very well here that we haven't done before."
Added Daley: "We definitely wanted to score the first goal. Getting the lead was huge."
But Hudler tied it just over six minutes later on the power play. Standing to the right of Turco in the low slot, Hudler banked home a rebound off his original redirect to make it 1-1. The Stars had killed off 14 straight Detroit power plays before Hudler's tally.
Turco helped keep the game knotted at a goal apiece after the first period with several sensational stops during a Detroit barrage that saw the Red Wings close the period with nine of the final 11 shots on goal.
Despite extending the series to a sixth game, the Stars still have their work cut out for them in order to defeat a Red Wings team that was the top seed in the Western Conference.
"Nobody said this was going to be easy," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said.
And nobody on the Red Wings thought the series would be heading south.
"We know that doubt starts to creep in," Morrow said. "We know that it's going to be tough in our building being the away team. It's going to be tough for them. We expect a big buzz, and it's up to us to give (the fans) something to cheer about."
And something to prolong this series even further.
--Lundqvist is now on a three-game point streak. His only other postseason goal came in Game 4 in the first-round series against Anaheim.
--Turco has two assists in the playoffs this season.
--Daley now has two career playoff goals.
--Including playoffs, Dallas is now 8-3-1 in afternoon games this season, and 16-5-1 over the past two campaigns.
--Richards extended his points streak to three games.
--Turco is now 5-2 when he and the Stars face elimination.
--The Red Wings have been held to a goal or less for two games this postseason, with both coming against Dallas.
--The Red Wings were once again without forward Johan Franzen, who continues to be sidelined because of a concussion. Franzen is the top goal-scorer in the playoffs with 12.
--Dallas was 0-for-4 on the power play, while Detroit was 1-for-3
--Dallas scratches were defensemen Philippe Boucher (lower body) and Mark Fistric (mono), and forwards Jere Lehtinen (leg), Stu Barnes (head), Brandon Crombeen, and Chris Conner.