Monday, April 24, 2006

Shooting Stars off course

Dallas had the perfect opportunity to finish off the perfect come back, coming early in the overtime that Colorado forced with 2 minutes to go in regulation. In that OT, the Stars Antti Miettinen rattled a puck off the goal post, the clanging still probably ringing in the American Airlines Centre, as the Avs turned the play around and went down the other way and put the game away with a 5-4 victory, and took a 2-0 lead on what was supposed to have been Dallas’ series.

Joe Sakic continued to write new chapters to a book many thought had almost been finished, as the Colorado captain once again lifted his team to victory, scoring the over time ending goal at 4:36. Sakic tipped a blast from John-Michael Liles in behind Marty Turco and suddenly the road Dallas must travel not only gets higher in elevation but the pressure mounts ten fold as well.

For Dallas the loss could be devastating. They surrendered to a huge Colorado lead in the first, battled back hard and took the lead in the second, only to see the game tied up with time running out in the third. It was a desperation goal late in the third for the Avs who had seen a commanding 3-0 lead disappear, as the Stars began to find their game and turn the attack into the Avalanche end of the ice. From that tying goal came the chance to stay alive, from that came the chance to win. It's all a visitor can hope for and all a home team can dread.

The mission is simple now for the Stars, pull out the stops and shut down the Avs completely on Wednesday. The home crowd in Denver which may have been thinking the sunset years were on this combination of Avs, suddenly have a 2-0 lead and very confident looking team coming home. That should make for a loud and boisterous gathering ready to cheer on their Avs.

It’s a hole the Stars have dug for themselves, outplayed completely in game one, they regained their focus in game two (well the last fourty minutes anyways). But in the end couldn’t do what they need to do, put the puck in the net and the Avalanche on the losing side of a score. Only two more chances to get it right, or they can start thinking about the changes that might soon come to big D.

Correction: This story was modified on Wednesday, to correctly identify the home of the Stars as the American Airlines Centre as opposed to the Reunion Centre. My thanks to the shar eyed reader who picked up on my error and sent the correction.

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