Dallas Stars

Stars must match Blues by playing ‘desperate hockey’ in crucial Game 4

Perhaps the Dallas Stars are right where they want to be.

Their backs are against the wall as they prepare to host the St. Louis Blues for Game 4 at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at American Airlines Center.

It’s not an elimination game, but with Game 5 back in St. Louis, Mo., it might as well be for the Stars, who trail the Blues 2-1 in the best-of-seven second round series.

The same scenario didn’t rattle the Stars in the first round against the Nashville Predators. In fact, they thrived. But the Blues are playing much better hockey than the Predators and it was obvious they came out with more edge in Game 3.

“They won more battles,” Stats center Tyler Seguin said. “They were a more desperate team, and we are going to respond. We were here about a week and a half ago and it’s the same kind of story, so we are pretty excited to respond.”

The emotions of a closely-contested playoff series can be a roller coaster. But the Stars have done a great job of staying on an even keel. The Blues may have looked like they had more of an edge in Game 3, but Stars coach Jim Montgomery said it’s more about execution. St. Louis did a better job, he said, of possessing the puck in their offensive zone than Dallas.

“In both games that we lost, we’ve played good hockey but we haven’t play desperate hockey,” he said. “I thought the Blues played significantly more desperate hockey than we did.”

Seguin isn’t concerned about his team let the Game 3 loss linger into Game 4.

“We’re not going too low after this one. They are a heck of a hockey team over there,” Seguin said. “It’s not going to be easy, but they have the advantage now and we have to come out and respond on home ice.”

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Stefan Stevenson has been covering sports for the Star-Telegram since 1997. He spent five years covering TCU athletics, which included two BCS bowls, two trips to the college World Series and the move to the Big 12. He has covered the Texas Rangers since 2014 and started reporting on the Dallas Cowboys in 2016.