Fans fuel Stars’ Game 3 win over Ducks

They literally came in droves, not only twirling white towels at any moment, but cheering for the good guys while raining the two best players for the Anaheim Ducks, captain Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, with a rain of boos at every opportunity.

Yes, the throng of over 19,000 that nearly blew the roof off American Airlines Center on Monday night for the Dallas Stars’ 3-0 win over the Ducks in Game 3 of their Western Conference First Round series, cutting the Ducks’ series lead to 2-1, succeeded in bringing back that raucous atmosphere Dallas was previously known for in the postseason.

During one break in play, a fan was shown holding a sign saying "Old Time Hockey". Maybe that sign was a nod to the greatest hockey movie ever, Slap Shot as Old Time Hockey was a frequent buzzword in that classic.

Then again, maybe it was a call for him and his fellow Stars supporters to make the AAC as rocking and tough for an opponent as it had been before the Stars had gone nearly six years between playoff appearances, a time marked by several coaching changes as well as a few ownership changes.

But no matter how the Stars arrived at this point, Stars fans were hungry to fall in love with playoff hockey all over again and that’s exactly what they did on Monday evening on Victory Avenue. It was a game that got extremely heated as the two teams combined for 64 hits and one where the Stars really ratcheted up their level of physical play and got under the Ducks’ skin, much to the chagrin of not only Getzlaf but Anaheim head coach Bruce Boudreau.

First-year Stars head coach Lindy Ruff took notice of the incredible atmosphere in his first home game since being hired to turn things around in Big D last summer. Suffice to say the longtime NHL head coach was quite impressed.

"I thought the atmosphere was tremendous. I got on the bench, took a look around and it just put a big smile on my face with the energy and the waving of the towels," Ruff said postgame. "It’s my first playoff game here in Dallas and I thought the crowd was tremendous.  You could tell they had been waiting for a playoff game. They got a game they liked and they had something they could cheer about."  

Game 4 is on Wednesday and with a more reasonable start time of 7 PM, the atmosphere figures to be just as festive and intense as on Monday night. In fact, the vibe in the AAC tomorrow night could be at an even higher level because if the 3-0 win in Game 3 showed anything, it’s that the level of animosity between these two former Pacific Division rivals, which has simmered over the first two games, might be ready to completely boil over.

Either way, Game 4 should be a heck of a show and the fans are a big part of it. So, well done Stars fans, keep up the good work.