Let me start by saying that this game was much closer than the score led us to believe. Even when the Ducks led 4-0, there was a belief in the AAC that the STARS still had a chance to win this game. Dallas had double the shots and double the scoring chances...but in the end they had half as many goals. Three things happened tonight that led to Anaheim's win...
(1) Dallas could not cash in early in the first, despite their multiple chances; those shots were beating JSG in the first two games.
(2) After the unsuccessful early rush and power play by Dallas, the Ducks took full advantage of the awful mistakes by our guys...especially the d-men; we simply did not look like the relaxed, make-it-look-easy type of team we seemed to be in Anaheim.
(3) The Ducks played like the champs early and then held on for dear life! Oh, and JSG played his best game of the series.
All that being said, Anaheim cannot feel GREAT about the win. Yes, they will take them however they come...but let me say this...they will need an exact replica performance to take game 4 in Dallas. After tonight, and the way the STARS came back in the 3rd...I fully believe that when Dallas plays its absolute best (which they have for 2.5 games)...the Ducks simply cannot hang...the STARS are the better team. Look no further than the mini-comeback...Dallas gets a power play goal, the crowd gets into it again, and the Ducks get flustered, take penalties, and hope that JSG is going to bail them out. One thing you can be certain of Thursday night...the Dallas defense will play better, and at the very least you won't see the friggin' delay of game penalties.
My confidence level is just as high now as it was before the game! I believe Dallas is the better team and I think they played a pretty good game. Even though they lost the game tonight...they gave the Ducks even more reason to be worried!
On a personal note...though I don't truly believe in luck or superstition...I like to go with things that seem to have had a good impact. For instance, I am a fan of the playoff beard...more for the sake of history and the simple fact I think it is cool. Anyhow, for the first two games I wore my normal white Modano jersey, even though I was at home. I never wear a jersey unless I'm actually at the game, but for the away playoff games this season, I decided to give it a whirl. STARS win both, right? So good move on my part! Then the request comes down for all the fans going to the game to wear black, and against my better judgment, I wear my black STARS All-Star jacket OVER my white Modano jersey. For the record, I took the black jacket OFF at the start of the 3rd. I think you see where I'm going with this. That is correct, I will NOT be wearing black at game 4!
There is no reason to fear STARS' fans...keep your chins up...go to the game...wear black if you want...BUT CHEER LOUD AND PROUD...this STARS' team is special and has a deep run in them! You can feel it...the feeling is culpable...just like tonight...I never felt like they were out of it and they just about pulled it off. We need to support them just like we did when they started scoring tonight. The AAC was going wild...we were loud...we were raucous...and we believed! Practically the entire place was on their feet during that 4-minute double minor; I go to a lot of games and I NEVER see that anymore! The STARS feed off that intensity and emotion...don't let them down!
One last thing...for those of you wondering if I'm going to come down on the Dallas media for picking Morrow as the #2 star of the game, or if I'm going to be a hypocrite because it is my team...the answer is NEITHER! Without question, Brendan earned a star of the game! This game was not even close to the blowouts that occurred in Anaheim...AND...he actually contributed to the outcome of the game! Quite unlike Brad May's ZERO points in game 1's 4-0 loss...or Ryan Getzlaf's ONE assist in game 2's 5-2 loss.
Prediction: STARS WIN GAME 4...by a comfortable margin!