It will get better. Hopefully, that is.
Game 1 of the Western Conference final was just about as lousy as one could have imagined, given Detroit’s long layoff and Dallas’ four-OT game Sunday. So let’s give Dallas a mulligan.
And let’s pretend the series really starts Saturday.
From a Detroit standpoint, it’s down to seven wins for a Stanley Cup. From a Dallas standpoint, it’s one more night of rest and hopefully a new lease on life.
At the end of the night the Red Wings were full value for their win. It didn’t matter the penalty call on Mark Fistric that put Dallas down two men early – the one that led to Detroit’s first goal – was embarrassingly cheap.
And it really didn’t matter that Tomas Holmstrom’s goal should have been waved off because he was parked in the crease.
The Stars had nothing in Game 1. Feathers. Zippo. Zilch.
The energy Dallas displayed against San Jose was not in evidence this night. Go figure.
Now you really have to wonder if Dallas can dig deep enough to be competitive?
Much will be made over the next two days of the fact goalie Marty Turco hasn’t won as a pro at the Joe, but all he needs is to win once to give his team home ice advantage.
To get that first win, he’ll have to be more competitive on the penalty kill. He looked like a rookie standing on his tip-toes trying to see past the players screening him when his team was shorthanded. A new strategy, say crouching down and peaking between legs, might be in order.
The Stars had no zip whatsoever. They didn’t fight for loose pucks and they defended like senior citizens let loose at the mall.
Frankly I’ve never been one to put a lot of stock in Game 1 of a best-of-seven series. I have seen too many teams regroup and come back. Based on their play in Game 1, Dallas has a long way to go to convince me they can beat Detroit. And based on Detroit’s play in Game 1, the Red Wings look like they can start planning a parade.
THN.com’s Playoff Blogs, featuring analysis and opinion on the action from the night before, with insight on what happened and what it all means going forward, will appear daily throughout the NHL playoffs. Read more entries HERE.
Mike Brophy, the co-author of the book Walking with Legends, is a senior writer for The Hockey News and a regular contributor on THN.com. His blog appears Mondays and his column, Double OT, appears Wednesday.
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