No matter what, we knew one team would be one step away from the Western Conference Finals after Game 5 in downtown Dallas.
The Stars regained home ice advantage after their Game 4 overtime win in St. Louis, evening up their second round series against the Blues at 2-2 and turning this into a best-of-3. The Stars were hoping that momentum would carry over to Game 5 in front of the home crowd, but it didn’t. Instead, the Blues skated away with a 4-1 win and a 3-2 series lead going back to St. Louis for Game 6.
It was a game of missed opportunities for the Stars. Outside of a wicked one-timer from Alex Goligoski in the first period, the offense could never get in a rhythm against Blues goalie Brian Elliot.
“I think if you look at the opportunities we had, we’ve got to cash in,” said head coach Lindy Ruff. “We put ourselves in position 5 or 6 times to make a difference in the game and we didn’t put it in the back of the net.”
The Blues did capitalize on their chances, getting on the board in the first period after Robby Fabbri’s shot bounced off Stars forward Brett Richie’s skate and into the net. Goligoski’s goal later in the period tied the game, but the second period belonged to the Blues as they found the back of the net twice and never looked back. Now the Stars have to win on Monday night in order to keep their season alive.
“I think we need a full 60-minute effort on Monday night,” said Stars captain and Hart Memorial Trophy finalist Jamie Benn. “We had a gutsy effort in Game 4 and we are going to need probably even more desperation next game.”
“We are a good hockey team and we know that, said Stars center Vernon Fiddler. “We’ve been good on the road so we have all of the confidence in the world in here. We know we are going to have to put up our best game of the series and that’s what we are going to look to do.”
Game 6 is 7 p.m. Monday on the NBC Sports Network.
Written by C. James