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THN.com Playoff Blog: Stars not aligning for Dallas against Detroit

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Bad Star-t

You started to get the feeling it wasn't going to be Dallas' night midway through the first period when the Stars had a 4-on-1 rush - ever seen one of those before? - and they couldn't even get a shot on net.

Then the play goes the other way and Wings rookie Darren Helm, he of zero goals in 14 career NHL games, beats Marty Turco with a wrist shot off the rush from the right faceoff circle.

Sure, it was a perfectly placed shot, but everything that could go wrong for Dallas on that sequence, did.

Detroit: West's Best

The final score was 2-1, but that flattered Dallas.

Detroit's best players, Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, were head-and-shoulders better than any Star. It might have been a different game had Dallas been able to hit the net on some of their scoring chances, but it just seemed like the Red Wings had an answer for whatever the Stars threw at them.

Dallas scores 24 seconds into its first power play to tie the game 1-1? No problem, says Detroit, we'll just wait a couple minutes and then score 14 seconds into our first power play to take back the lead for good.

Give the Stars credit for knocking off two tough opponents in Anaheim and San Jose in Rounds 1 and 2, but the Red Wings are proving to be the best team in the West.

Demographics: Dallas vs. Detroit

Both teams dressed eight Canadian players, five Swedes, three Americans and a Russian.

Dallas out-Finned Detroit three to one, while Detroit had two Czechs.

Detroit was missing one key Swede, though, as Johan Franzen was scratched with "concussion-like" symptoms; the team said he'd miss Monday's Game 3, as well. He was replaced by veteran winger Kirk Maltby. Maltby will give it his all, of course, but he won't replace Franzen on the scoresheet.

Franzen has 12 goals in 11 playoff games this spring; Maltby has 12 goals in 143 games over the past two seasons.

Marty vs. Tomas, Chris vs. Mike

Oh yeah. Add Marty Turco to the long list of NHL goalies who do not like Wings crease-camper Tomas Holmstrom. (As if Turco wasn't on that list already.)

Then again, Holmstrom didn't blatantly slash Turco in the chest after the game was over, as Dallas' Mike Ribeiro did to Chris Osgood.

The slash probably didn't hurt nearly as much as the Wings goalie made it out to, but it was the definition of a cheap shot and should be reviewed by the league.

The last thing the Stars can afford is to lose Ribeiro, who's having the best playoff of his career, to a one-game suspension for a selfish act of frustration.

THN.com's Playoff Blogs, featuring analysis and opinion on the night's action with insight on what happened and what it all means going forward, will appear daily throughout the NHL playoffs. Read more entries HERE.

Sam McCaig is The Hockey News' senior copy editor and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Tuesdays and his column, From The Point, every second Friday.

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

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