One more to the Finals

The Wings are outskating, outhitting, outchancing, and outgoaltending the Stars.

Turco doesn't know what hit him. Last night, he didnt face a ton of shots, but the ones he faced were high quality shots from good spots on the ice. These are the shots that Giguere made last year, and Kiprusoff the year before. These are the shots the goaltender HAS to make to give his team a chance against the Wings. The Stars MO is to get ahead and shut things down, not constantly play from behind.

That said, here is what the Stars must do better to get back into the series:
1- Turco must stand on his head. To win 4 straight against the Red Wings, Marty has to play unbelievable hockey. Not just making great saves, but he has to eliminate the mistakes playing the puck, taking himself out of position.

2- Get the puck deep. How many times did the Wings stand the Stars up at the blue line and start back on an odd man rush the other way? Here is the problem. Usually the guy carrying the puck for the Stars is not the lead guy. Usually, he is not even second. So instead of driving the puck in, keeping the guys in front of him skating hard, he tries to carry it in, losing the puck at the blue line, everybody is standing still, and the Wings have a rush back the other way. Drive the puck into the zone, keep those big wingers moving, put pressure on the defenseman to move the puck quickly, if they can even get it first, and set up in the zone. This leads to the Wings one weakness, which Dallas exploited on a couple of occasions last night.

3- Spread out in offensive zone, and move the puck around the perimeter. The Wings do not have a solid "half-court" defense, to borrow a phrase from basketball. Once you get in the zone, with control, you can do almost anything you want with it, within reason. The Red Wings do not like playing without the puck, and especially in the defensive zone, and are prone to panic. Both Dallas goals last night were products of great offensive zone puck control, based on passing around the perimiter. Just be patient, pass it around, one of the Wings will get out of position, and set up for a shot. Then...

4- Drive for rebounds. Osgood has been special this postseason, but last night gave up a couple juicy rebounds. Chelios, Lidstrom, and Rafalski were the first to the puck to sweep it away on most occasions. The Stars wingers need to drive the net looking for the easy poke for the cheap goal. They all count as 1, no matter how pretty.

5- Put the puck on net. After seeing the Wings failures over the last couple years, this is the one that sticks deepest. How many times has Dallas had one of those rebounds, only to hear Mike Emrick exclaim "just wide!" or "off the side of the net!" If a couple or even one of those finds the twine, this may be a completely different series.

Not that I'm a Dallas fan, but I like them. They play hard, they play clean (I'm looking at you Ribeiro), and are likeable guys. Modano is probably my favorite non Red Wing in the league, and Marty is our old Michigan boy. Even if they manage to do everything on this list, they still may not beat the Wings, but it would make it more exciting to say the least.

Go Wings. I want to see handshakes Wednesday night.

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