DETROIT – Marty Turco has quite an opportunity in front of him.
The Dallas goalie is 0-9-2 in the NHL at Joe Louis Arena, where he will have a chance to stop nagging questions and extend the Western Conference final against the Detroit Red Wings. “It’s nothing short of an exciting challenge for all of us, and for me personally,” the former University of Michigan star said after helping the Stars stave off elimination.
Stars forward Steve Ott said the stage will be set perfectly for Turco on Saturday in Game 5.
“He wants that win probably more than anybody,” Ott said. “A win there would be huge for his confidence and the team’s.”
The Stars are in much better spirits and like their chances at pulling off a rare comeback in the Stanley Cup playoffs after beating Detroit 3-1 Wednesday night.
“Our guys feel very good today,” Dallas coach Dave Tippett said. “You get up this morning, you’re still alive.”
The odds are stacked against the Stars feeling that way many more days.
Just two NHL teams have advanced after trailing a series 3-0. The last was the New York Islanders 33 years ago – 33 years after the Toronto Maple Leafs did it.
But Ott is thankful to still have a shot.
“Summer could have started today and we would have been all pretty miserable having meetings,” Ott said. “We’re alive and we feel good. We feel confident going into Detroit.”
The Red Wings will be without NHL playoff goal-scoring leader Johan Franzen, who will miss his fourth straight game because of concussion-like symptoms. Franzen has been cleared for light workouts, but doesn’t seem to be on the verge of returning to the lineup to add to his franchise-record 12 goals.
“He’s going to have to practice with us for a few days and feel good the next day before he plays again,” Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said.
The Red Wings lost for the first time in nearly a month in Game 4, ending a franchise-record nine-game playoff winning streak.
Henrik Zetterberg chose to take a glass half-full view of the way the series has gone.
“We got one out of two in Dallas, we’re happy about that,” Zetterberg said.
Captain Nicklas Lidstrom said the Red Wings can’t rely too much on playing at home because the Stars are going to play with nothing-to-lose intensity.
“They are going to come out with the same desperation they did last night, and that’s something we have to match,” Lidstrom said when the team arrived back home Thursday. “We have to match their intensity. We have to try to stay out of the box too.”
The Stars went ahead for good on a power play in Game 4 when Mike Modano scored on a one-timer early in the third period.
“Mike’s a big-time player,” Ott said. “Doesn’t matter if he’s getting a little bit older in his age, he still knows when to step up his game.
“For him to step up with a huge power-play goal, wasn’t a better time to do it.”
Loui Eriksson’s disputed goal was timely, too, for the Stars.
It gave them their first lead 219-plus minutes into the series even though Eriksson was clearly in the crease.
“Once we got that first goal on them, the bench lit up like it did in the first two series,” Ott said. “We hadn’t really seen that in any of the first three games. The excitement was there.
“It’s hard to explain, but the feeling we had against San Jose and Anaheim was definitely there against Detroit.”
Eriksson’s goal came about 12 minutes after Pavel Datsyuk’s apparent score was waved off because the officials determined Tomas Holmstrom interfered with Turco.
“I’ve seen it on TV and I’m clearly outside,” Holmstrom said. “It was a bad call.”
Teammate Darren McCarty agreed, but added it’s time for the NHL’s top-seeded team to move on.
“There’s always adversity in the playoffs you have to face,” McCarty said. “We’ll have to find a way to bounce back from this.”