Neither Stars, Avs want to face reality of 2-0 series

Updated: April 25, 2006, 8:46 PM ET
Associated Press

DENVER -- Everybody's fooling themselves in the Dallas-Colorado playoff series.

As the best-of-seven Western Conference quarterfinals shifted to the Rocky Mountains, neither team seemed to want to face the fact that the seventh-seeded Avalanche had built a surprising 2-0 lead over the second-seeded Stars.

The Avs didn't want to get caught up in their startling success and the seasoned Stars didn't want to get bogged down in their dismaying deficit heading into Game 3 on Wednesday night at the Pepsi Center.

"It's a swing game for both of us," Avs forward Andrew Brunette said. "It's as much desperation for us as it is for them. It is a scary lead, 2-0, because it is a momentum shift. We have to treat it like it is 1-1 and try to dictate the flow."

On Tuesday, both clubs preferred to focus on the second period in Dallas a night earlier, when the Stars overcame a three-goal deficit to take a 4-3 lead that stood until Brett Clark's shorthanded goal with 2:04 remaining sent the game into overtime, when Colorado won on Joe Sakic's tip-in.

"We got a lot of confidence from last night," said Jere Lehtinen, who scored two of the Stars' goals. "We didn't play that good in the first game, then we were down 3-0 so fast. In the second period, we needed to prove we were better than that."

They sure made an impression on the Avs, who opened the series with a 5-2 win at American Airlines Arena.

"Dallas has too many great leaders, great veterans to let it get to 3-0," Avs forward Ian Laperriere said. "They will come hard, and it is the playoffs. You can't get comfortable."

That was the message from Colorado coach Joel Quenneville, too.

"We can't accept any satisfaction of starting the series up" 2-0, he said.

Not with the chutzpah Dallas showed Monday night.

"I felt a lot better about last night," Stars coach Dave Tippett said. "The second period was probably the best period we've played in probably the last three months. We didn't have a legitimate turnover in the second period.

"We did a lot of good things out of hard work. ... Brenden Morrow, he was the poster child for how to play a hard playoff game. That's exactly what we need. But the bottom line is you've got to win," he said.

Still, the Stars held their heads high as they traveled to Denver.

"What we did for the last 40 minutes was a good sign," Dallas defenseman Philippe Boucher said. "There were a couple of breakdowns early and that got us in a hole. But we have a lot of positives to get us on track."

Among them is a franchise-best 25-12-4 road record, second only to Detroit's 31 road wins. The Stars won both games in Denver this season, in 3-2 shootouts.

But the franchise hasn't overcome a 2-0 playoff deficit since the Minnesota North Stars came back to beat Los Angeles 4-3 in the 1968 NHL quarterfinals.

For Dallas to turn the series around, goalie Marty Turco is going to have to stop more shots. He has surrendered 10 goals so far in this series and in seven career playoff games against Colorado, he's allowed 28 pucks into the net for a 1-6 record.

Tippett, though, is sticking with Turco in net, too, rather than giving Johan Hedberg a shot.

"We need Marty to make some more saves for us," Tippett said. "We've got to find a way to win and he needs to be a big part of it."

Turco insists his psyche isn't shaken: "It's not going to serve me any benefit to dwell on it. I'm still confident I can make saves and make a difference."

Yet Turco took his latest loss particularly hard because of how much better his teammates had played.

"It was 100 times better effort," Turco said "Now we've got to steal two wins out there."

Which is what the Avs admit they did in Dallas.

"We didn't expect to win there," Colorado's Pierre Turgeon acknowledged Tuesday.

And Stephane Robidas thinks going on the road will be just the thing to get the Stars back on track.

"I think we play much better on the road than at home," he said. "Maybe we just try to keep it simple. Maybe we try to put on a show and try to do too much at home. When we play physical, move the puck down low, that's our strength. That's who the Dallas Stars are."

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press