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Published: Saturday, 5/17/2008

Red Wings say sooner is better for ousting Stars

ASSOCIATED PRESS

DETROIT - The Detroit Red Wings sound as if the Western Conference finals have lasted long enough.

They're ready to eliminate the Dallas Stars today in Game 5 and earn a spot in the Stanley Cup finals for the first time since winning a title in 2002.

"We want to finish them off as soon as we can," Detroit forward Tomas Holmstrom said yesterday. "We want to take care of it right away.

"Otherwise, we would be stupid."

The Stars, of course, hope to ruin the Red Wings' plans.

"This is huge," Dallas goaltender Marty Turco said. "They don't want to bring it back here for a Game 6, obviously, and we don't want to die."

Detroit set a franchise record by winning nine straight games in a postseason before losing 3-1 Wednesday night in Dallas.

Goaltender Chris Osgood said the setback might've helped the NHL's top-seeded team.

"Sometimes you take things for granted when you're winning so much and you forget how hard it is, or how much effort we put into winning those nine in a row," Osgood said. "We didn't think we were going to go 16-0.

"But we'll be ready and we're going to have our best game of the playoffs."

The Red Wings will be without their best playoff performer, center Johan Franzen, who will miss his fourth straight game with concussion-like symptoms. Franzen has been cleared for light workouts off the ice.

The Stars have four banged-up players out for Game 5: Stu Barnes, Jere Lehtinen, Philippe Boucher and Mark Fistric.

Franzen leads the NHL with 12 playoff goals, but Detroit still has plenty of firepower without the player known as Mule.

Henrik Zetterberg's 19 points in the postseason tie him for the league lead with Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby, and Pavel Datsyuk has 18 points, tying him with Evgeni Malkin of the Penguins.

Detroit's duo hopes to keep the Red Wings undefeated at home in the playoffs while keeping Turco winless in the NHL at Joe Louis Arena.

Since starring at Michigan and playing well at the home of the Red Wings, Turco is 0-9-2 in the storied venue along the Detroit River.

"The good thing about sports is you always have a chance to redeem yourself. He has one in Detroit," Stars forward Mike Modano said. "That's been his demon the last little while and he has another opportunity to erase that."

The Red Wings are 7-0 at home and 11-3 overall in the playoffs.

"You play them anywhere, they're going to be a great team that's hard to play against," Modano said.



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