After ending a six-game losing streak in overtime games to avoid elimination against the Vancouver Canucks, the Stars must snap a more mind-boggling streak of the same length to extend the series again.
Game 6 of the first-round Western Conference series is Saturday night in Dallas, where the Stars have lost six straight games – one short of the NHL playoff record.
“We had a long streak of not scoring in overtime and we got that monkey off our back,” Stars captain Brenden Morrow said Friday. “Now we’ve got to take advantage of playing well at home and doing the little things it takes to win games: the blocking of shots, getting traffic, just playing really simple and not trying to do anything fancy.”
Until Morrow scored 6:22 into the extra period of Game 5 for a 1-0 victory Thursday night, the Stars hadn’t won in overtime since Game 3 of a first-round series against Colorado in 2004. That was the last playoff game they won at home.
“We’re playing desperate hockey right now,” Morrow said.
The Stars’ home-ice losing streak includes 2-1 losses in Games 3 and 4 of this series after first-round eliminations the last two playoffs.
“Not being successful is another story line that is true, but one that has zero relevance for us come Saturday night,” said Turco, the goalie for both losing streaks. “It’s all about that effort and learning from the past, not the negatives.”
Turco had 21 saves in his second consecutive shutout in Vancouver since the Canucks won the series opener on Henrik Sedin’s goal 18:06 into the fourth overtime.
Over his last 204 minutes in Vancouver, where Game 7 would be played if necessary, Turco has allowed only one goal. He has a 1.38 goals against average and a .949 save percentage in the series.
While the Stars are a step further than their last two playoff series, when they were eliminated in five games, Vancouver still has a 3-2 series lead.
First-time playoff goalie Roberto Luongo (1.39 GAA, .953 save percentage) has been impressive and the Canucks are confident they can win in Dallas again.
“It’s never easy, especially now because they’re going to be jumping and feeling that we’re weak,” center Jan Bulis said. “But we went there a few days ago and won both games. And they’ve struggled at home. We’ve got to take advantage of that and win it in Game 6. Don’t even think about Game 7.”
Vancouver came out quickly Thursday night, attacking the net early without getting anything past Turco.
“Marty made save after save. He bailed us out in the first period and throughout the game,” Jeff Halpern said. “Guys like Marty, they make their own breaks.”
One puck that almost went in came on a delayed penalty early in the third period. With Turco already off for an extra attacker, Loui Eriksson’s pass back to the point missed his teammate and banked toward the empty Dallas net, deflecting off the outside of the post.
“I think that was a bit of a sign … we finally had one go our way,” Morrow said.
“Time stood still there for a while,” coach Dave Tippett said. “Right after it went by the net somebody yelled on the bench, that’s the break we’re looking for. It seemed to give us a lift.”
Dallas is still waiting to get a goal from any of its top five goal-scorers in the regular season: Mike Modano, Jere Lehtinen, Philippe Boucher, Mike Ribeiro and Niklas Hagman.
Daniel and Henrik Sedin, the twins on Vancouver’s top line, haven’t scored since both had a goal and an assist in Game 1.
“It’s not easy to generate scoring chances, one side or the other. The way both teams are competing, there’s not a lot of room,” Vigneault said. “It’s what we predicted. We predicted 2-1 games and now we’re getting 1-0 games. It’s a tough series.”