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Dallas Stars Daily Links: Stars Look to Eliminate Minnesota Wild in Game 5

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The Stars and the Wild meet for Game 5 tonight at 8:30 p.m. Plus, does home ice matter in the playoffs? And Jim Nill is the winner in a GM showdown with Chuck Fletcher.

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Tonight, the Stars find themselves with a chance to advance to the second round of the playoffs. On the flip side of the coin, the Wild find themselves in a must-win situation. Mike Heika breaks down what to expect in Game 5.

"The last game is always the hardest," said Stars defenseman Jason Demers. "We've got them backed into a corner now, they are must-win. It's the same thing for us. We've got to win this game, because we don't want to go back there."

The punch and counterpunch of a playoff series has produced highlights for both teams, and both coaches are concentrating on the good parts of their game.

Both Lindy Ruff and John Torchetti talked about the expected level of intensity and the importance of executing.

On Wednesday, the Stars twice rallied from one-goal deficits to take a huge win in a swing game and throw the odds into their corner. Now, the Stars players will try to find out if their team can handle the role of the favorite. While the challenge of character is different than the Wild's, it's not that different.

Read the rest at the link. [SportsDayDFW]

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Tonight, Game 5 gets underway at 8:30 p.m. Ales Hemsky called the AAC crowd "the sixth man," so if you'll be at the game, don't disappoint him. And while you wait for the puck to drop, catch up on Thursday's updates—including word that Tyler Seguin won't be playing—at the link. [Stars Inside Edge]

Kris Russell says the "overall demeanor of this group" has made his transition from Calgary to Dallas an easy one. [Star Tribune]

Good news, everyone. As it turns out, all of these 8:30 p.m. start times are working in the Stars' favor—at least according to Pioneer Press columnist Tom Powers.

Anyway, maybe the Stars are used to all that Dallas nightlife and keeping late hours. Heck, 11 o'clock is the shank of the evening in Big D. They're riding all those mechanical bulls and so forth. Even on a weeknight. Here, we're mostly into getting up early and having big breakfasts.

I really thought Minnesota had this one. They came out very full of fire and forechecked like demons. And Dallas netminder Antti Niemi, making his series debut, appeared unsure of himself in the early going.

There's more on the matchup at the link. (Also, please feel free to chime in below with your thoughts on mechanical bulls.) [Twin Cities]

When comparing Stars GM Jim Nill to Chuck Fletcher, his Wild counterpart, Hockey Wilderness gives the edge to Nill. (Can't blame 'em.) [Hockey Wilderness]

The Rangers are ready for tonight's game.

Patrick Sharp joined The Ticket yesterday, and you can listen to what he had to say at link. [BaD]

In other postseason news, the Texas Stars dropped their first game of the Calder Cup playoffs to the San Diego Gulls.

The first-round matchup between the Stars and Gulls means that brothers Nick and Brett Ritchie are engaged in a friendly family competition. Since Brett was scratched with a lower-body injury and Nick scored a goal last night, we'll give Nick Round 1. [Austin Statesman]

Ralph Strangis shares his thoughts about the Stars' current playoff run. [Twin Cities]

There was plenty of hockey going on last night. Here's what went down.

Does home ice matter in the playoffs? Opinions are split on whether playing in your own barn offers an advantage. [Sports Illustrated]

FiveThirtyEight crunches the numbers to see whether arenas award too many secondary assists to their home team's players. (Spoiler alert: They do, and a lot of the game's biggest names benefit.) [FiveThirtyEight]

Scott Laughton has been released from the hospital after being stretchered off the ice on Wednesday, but he won't travel with the Flyers.

The Maple Leafs may have finished at the bottom of the league this year, but the Toronto Marlies are a different story. James Mirtle calls the team "the most desirable" to play for in the league. And that's only in part because of the food. [The Globe and Mail]

Flyers coach Dave Hakstol's successful jump from the NCAA to the NHL has opened the door for other college coaches to follow. [Sportsnet]

In honor of Prince's death yesterday, at look a "Let's Go Crazy" promo for the 1996 Stanley Cup Playoffs. [Puck Daddy]

Steven Yzerman has said that signing Steven Stamkos is the Lightning's No. 1 priority, but if the Bolts can't get it done, Sportsnet's Eric Engels says the Canadiens should try to bring Stamkos to Montreal. [Sportsnet]

And finally, the Predators' tradition of catfish throwing lives on thanks to these committed fans.