DALLAS Detroit's goal with a guy barely in the crease, if at all, didn't count. Dallas' goal with a guy clearly in the crease did count.
Apparently, that's what it takes to slow the mighty Red Wings.
Loui Ericksson's goal about 12 minutes after Detroit's was waved off, then third-period goals from Mike Modano and Brenden Morrow sent the Stars past the Red Wings 3-1 on Wednesday night, preventing the Western Conference finals from ending in a sweep.
"It was a pretty intense, desperate game from everyone on our side," said Dallas' Marty Turco, who made 34 saves and played his best game of the series. "We needed that to be successful. We'll have to continue like that just to have a chance."
Game 5 is Saturday in Detroit, a two-day break the Stars are glad to have to rest their bodies and, they hope, for the Red Wings to dwell on their missed opportunity.
"Doubt starts to creep in a little bit," Morrow said. "We've got a couple of days here to let that sink in."
Detroit lost for the first time since April 16, ending a nine-game winning streak that was the franchise's longest in a single postseason. Goalie Chris Osgood ended a 9-0 run, giving up one goal less than he had in the previous three games combined.
But what will frustrate the Red Wings most was the way this game turned in the second period.
Pavel Datsyuk put the puck past Turco on a power-play shot from the right circle midway 7:34 into the period, but on-ice officials immediately called it off, saying Tomas Holmstrom interfered with Turco from inside the crease. Detroit coach Mike Babcock stood on the bench arguing his case to no avail.
Part of the problem is it's not a reviewable call. Replays, however, showed that Holmstrom's skates weren't touching much of the blue stuff. Commissioner Gary Bettman was here for the game and probably was sitting close enough to a TV to have seen it again.
Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom said he was told by two officials that Holmstrom's rear end got in the way. Babcock said officials likely were told to watch Holmstrom because he's known for crowding goalies including Turco earlier this series without being caught.
"It's a reputation call, totally," Babcock said. "It's disappointing."
Turco said he was "not really out there thinking about calls getting evened up."
"I couldn't move freely to make that save on the shot," Turco said. "I really don't think it's a bad call. I don't think it's black and white like it used to be. It's the referee's discretion."
Had that goal counted, Detroit would've been up 1-0. Instead, the game remained tied until Ericksson scored with 22.7 seconds left in the period, putting Dallas in front for the first time all series.
Ericksson was in the crease, but legally because the puck got there first. He knocked in a loose puck knocked toward the goal by Stephane Robidas.
"It hit my body and then hit the stick," Ericksson said. "I was just standing there. I didn't hit it with my hand. I knew it was good. When I started I was standing outside. ... I was just trying to stay in front. It hit me and went in."
The excitement of his goal lasted throughout the second intermission, but not much longer. Just 49 seconds into the third period, and 1:12 after Ericksson's goal, Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg zipped a shot past Turco to tie it at 1.
The Red Wings went on a power play a few minutes later, but failed to capitalize. Seconds after their advantage ended, the Stars went on a power play and Modano cashed in quickly, setting up in the slot and whizzing a one-timer by Osgood.
Morrow then added another with 5:26 left, drawing huge roars from a crowd featuring so many Red Wings fans that an octopus was thrown onto the ice to big cheers after the national anthem.
Turco turned away 14 shots in the second period and 15 more in the third period. That included last-minute barrages of 6-on-4 and even 6-on-3 for the final 35.3.
Turco beat Detroit for only third time in 21 career tries. But you can say this about him: He's tough when facing playoff elimination, improving to 5-4.
The Stars came in knowing how hard it is to close a team out because they went from leading the last round 3-0 to needing four overtimes in Game 6 to finally knock out the San Jose Sharks.
Of course, the Red Wings have experience in being up 3-0, having swept Colorado with an 8-2 victory in Game 4.
But Detroit came out defensive, taking only five shots while concentrating on defense. The Red Wings flipped over to an offensive mindset in the second period, but just couldn't get the breaks or the official's rulings that they needed.