DETROIT — Are the Red Wings losing that killer instinct?
After rattling off a team-record nine straight wins, Detroit failed to close out its Western Conference final series with Dallas for the second straight game, losing 2-1 at Joe Louis Arena on Saturday.
The Stars trail in the best-of-seven series, 3-2, with Game 6 coming Monday in Dallas.
"We were backing up a little bit too much," Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. "That's giving them room to make plays, and find guys jumping up in the play, too, so you have to tighten up a little bit defensively."
It was the first time the Red Wings have lost at home this posteason (7-1) and marks the first career victory -- in 12 tries -- for Stars goalie Marty Turco in Detroit.
"Every time he's been backed up against the wall, he's responded," Dallas center Steve Ott said. "He's done that all season."
Dallas is trying to become the first team since the 1975 Islanders to rally from a 3-0 series deficit. That stat is being echoed in the Eastern finals, where Philadelphia kept its Cup hopes alive with a win over Pittsburgh in Game 4.
"There's pressure on both teams,” Lidstrom said. “If they lose one game, the series is over. If we win, it's over, too. I don't really feel that pressure. The thing is you have to be ready to play the game that's coming up. You can't think too far ahead."
Besides stopping 38 shots, Turco led the breakout on both Dallas goals. His patented stretch passes caught Detroit on two bad line changes.
“We just felt ... give us enough opportunities here and one of these days we’re going to play well, and he’s gonna stand out and win us a game here,” said center Mike Modano of Turco. “That’s the great thing about sports — you get a lot of second chances, a lot of chances to prove yourself over again.”
With Brad Stuart and Lidstrom trying to get off the ice midway through the first, Brett Lebda scrambled to get back in the play. Turco’s 80-footer sprung the rush up ice, and Trevor Daley finished it off with his first playoff marker.
"We gave up too many odd-man rushes tonight, for one reason or another," said Detroit goalie Chris Osgood, who stopped 19 shots. "That was the most that I've seen in a long time. For one reason or another, they're getting some speed through the neutral zone and getting some guys home-free a couple times. Then again, both times were line changes. That can't happen at this time of the season. We've got to be mentally sharp. Definitely can't allow that to happen anymore. Those are the things that bite you."
Detroit’s bench management again got caught on Dallas’ go-ahead goal late in the second period. Chris Chelios motioned for a change, but hesitated as the play came back up ice. Joel Lundqvist converted the odd-man rush for the 2-1 lead.
Daley and Lundqvist aren’t household hockey names like Brendan Morrow and Modano. Daley’s goal was his first point this postseason. Lundqvist, who centers a checking line with Toby Petersen and Loui Eriksson, logged over 18 minutes.
They’ve recently been tabbed the shutdown line for the Stars, who successfully held the Wings’ top trio of Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Holmstrom off the scoresheet. Zetterberg had a nine-game point streak (8 goals, 8 assists) snapped. Johan Franzen, who left the lineup as Detroit’s leading scorer, missed his third consecutive game with headaches.
Jiri Hudler had Detroit’s only goal. His power-play tally tied the game at one at 15:30 of the first period, and snapped an 0-for-13 power-play slump.