Stars stay alive with win in Denver
April, 9, 2011
By Mark Stepneski | ESPNDallas.com
The Dallas Stars won again Friday night to keep their hopes alive, but they still aren’t getting much help. They’ll get one last chance on Sunday.
The Stars’ 3-2 win at Colorado kept them within two points of Chicago, which won at Detroit Friday night. The Stars will now need to win in regulation or overtime Sunday in Minnesota and hope that Detroit can beat the Blackhawks in regulation earlier in the day on Sunday.
“It boils down to one game,” said Stars captain Brenden Morrow. “We’ll worry about our game and hope for some help.”
The Stars can no longer catch Nashville, Phoenix or Anaheim in the standings. All of those teams won Friday night and clinched playoff spots. That means seven teams are in and there is just one spot left to be filled.
“Still alive. That’s what we were hoping to do,” said Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas. “We are trying to win our games and hopefully we can get some help, but we don’t have any control over that. All we can do is focus on is to get ready for Sunday and a big game in Minnesota.”
Friday’s win was the fourth straight for the Stars, who have had no margin for error in these final few games of the season.
“It’s never easy to come up here (Denver), but we battled through, played hard and everyone was involved. Kari [Lehtonen] made the saves at the right time for us,” said Stars center Mike Ribeiro. “It was just a team effort. It was a good thing we won. It keeps the dream alive and we keep believing that we still can get in.”
Friday’s game played out a lot like Thursday’s game in Dallas between the two teams. The Stars started strong and built a 2-0 lead, getting a first period goal from Ribeiro and then a second period tally by Loui Eriksson. Colorado cut the lead to 2-1 on goal by Brandon Yip later in the second. The Stars struck early in the third on a goal by Morrow and Yip scored 5:00 into the third to make it 3-2.
But Lehtonen and the Stars held the fort the rest of the way, but there were some frantic moments in the final minute of the game.
The Avalanche pushed for the equalizer late in the game, coming close off a scramble in the final half minute of the game. With time running out and the Avalanche still pressing, Ribeiro put his body on the line and blocked a shot to keep the puck from getting to the net.
“You have to do. You don’t want that puck to go through. They had a chance just before right in front of the net in a scramble there,” said Ribeiro. “We know that lately that we’ve been giving up those goals. I just stayed in the lane and it was a shot that hit me in the right spot. But, like I said it’s a team effort and we’ll take that one.”
Ribeiro was down the ice and struggling to get to his feet at the end of the game, but said he would fine after the game.
“For sure it’s not a muscle because I don’t have much of those,” he said. “I am sure it is going to be bruised. I guess for the last game I can play that one. If I can walk I can probably skate.”