DETROIT – Brenden Morrow says he felt the Joe Louis Arena ice tilt Thursday night.
After playing the Detroit Red Wings even for six or seven minutes, the Dallas Stars were overwhelmed and dropped the opener of the NHL’s Western Conference final 4-1 Thursday night. “They got a couple of power plays, we got behind,” said the Stars captain. “I think we had a good two or three shifts to start the game, but then the ice got tilted the other way.”
The effort wasn’t anywhere near what his team had delivered previously this post-season, said coach Dave Tippett. His guys just didn’t skate as well as they have been skating, and it probably was because of the emotional sag after requiring four overtimes to eliminate the San Jose Sharks last Sunday night.
Whatever, Morrow, who scored his team’s lone goal after it had fallen behind 4-0, said there were too many spectators in visitors’ white.
“Can’t sit around and watch,” he said. “We’ve got to initiate, play our style.”
Detroit scored three times on power plays the first five chances it had on power plays.
“We’ve got to get in the shooting lanes, not let those shots get through,” said Morrow. “We’ve got to do better on the penalty kill.”
Nobody in the Stars dressing room was blaming goaltender Marty Turco, who faced 31 shots compared to the 21 Dallas fired at the Wings’ Chris Osgood.
“We hung him out to dry with the 5-on-3 early in the game,” said Morrow.
Turco said that “it looked like we lacked a little emotion or jump we had in the other series.” He was screened on Detroit’s first goal and couldn’t react in time to handle Johan Franzen’s deflection on the second Wings goal.
Another deflection, this time by Tomas Holmstrom, made it 3-0.
“He’s one of the best in the league at tipping,” said Turco. “He doesn’t get enough credit for his hands.” Holmstrom might have wandered into Turco’s crease in deflecting the puck in. Turco thought that was the case.
“We got told we’d have a ability to move within the blue,” he said. “We like to have our hands out in front us, and I wasn’t able to do that cause he’s coming backwards at us.
“It’s a penalty, if you ask me. Those ones should be waved off, not going back to the late 90’s type stuff, but that’s me. But he’s (Holmstrom) one of the best at it, getting in there, tipping, he doesn’t get enough credit for probably his hands, but he certainly willing to pay the price, and he did and he got rewarded for it.”
Stars forward Brad Richards have five shots on goal, while Mike Modano had none. Both were equally frustrated afterwards.
“We didn’t get to the level that we needed to,” said Richards. “We didn’t get the speed up. That’s why we took penalties.” Mike Ribeiro said the loss will quickly be placed behind them.
“It could have been 7-1, it could have been 1-1,” he said. “It’s over now, it’s 1-0 them and we need to look at the next game”.
“Right now we regroup the team, we know what we did wrong, we’ll fix that and be better next game.”
Added Turco: “I know we’ll be better in Game 2.”
“They’re a team that likes to control the puck and we need to be smart about where we’re going to put those pucks and how we’re going to get it back to play offence,” said Ribeiro. “We know what we did wrong and what we have to do to fix it.”