DALLAS — Desperation.
That's what Jim Montgomery wanted to see more of after the Dallas Stars lost Game 3 at home to the St. Louis Blues on Monday night.
The Stars head coach got what he asked for in Game 4.
After falling behind early on a Vladimir Tarasenko power-play goal, the Stars scored the game's next four goals en route to a 4-2 victory on Wednesday night at the American Airlines Center.
With the series tied 2-2, Dallas is guaranteed at least one more home playoff game: Game 6 -- Sunday, May 5 at 2 p.m.
The Stars played with plenty of it.
Down 1-0 in the first period, breakout Star forward Jason Dickinson scored to even the score.
With 52 seconds left, forward Jason Spezza gave the Stars a 2-1 lead and Dallas never looked back.
Defenseman and Round 1 Game 6 hero John Klingberg extended the lead in the second period. Minutes later, forward Roope Hintz scored his fifth goal of the playoffs to make it 4-1.
Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Montgomery made a few lineup changes before Game 4 and the moves reflected on the ice and the scoreboard.
So, what did he see in Game 4?
“At one point, Mats Zuccarello looked back at me on the bench and said, ‘Coach. We’re up 4-1. We’re having fun. Relax.”
Reporter: "And did you?"
A smile spreads across Monty's face. A familiar smile. A smile of a man who knows who his team is, what makes them tick and how they respond to adversity.
A team that collapsed down the stretch a year ago has come back stronger, more resilient and punches back when they're nudged toward the ropes.
The Stars have trailed a playoff series 2-1 twice in the last two weeks.
Both times they won Game 4 resoundingly and decisively -- with a combined score of 9-3.
When asked how the team is able to stay focused amidst the highs and lows, Spezza attributed it to "experience."
The 35-year-old veteran has 77 playoff games under his belt, but for guys like Dickinson (10 games) the first round provided a learning experience and guide to overcoming adversity.
The Stars trailed their opening round series with the Nashville Predators, 2-1. Dallas then won the next three games (and the series) by a combined score of 13-5.
There's no guarantee the Stars will win Game 5 in St. Louis on Friday night at 8:30 p.m.
But, they have the confidence, the momentum and the desperation to do so.