DALLAS (AP) -- There are not many questions left for the Dallas Stars to answer at this point in the Stanley Cup finals.
What do they have left? And will it be enough to carry the defending champions past the New Jersey Devils?
New Jersey, frustrating Dallas at its own defensive, team-orientated game, grabbed a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series with a 2-1 victory Saturday night. The Devils can move within a victory of their second Cup since 1995 with a victory tonight at Reunion Arena.
Had it not been for two goals by Brett Hull in Game 2 and some great goaltending by Ed Belfour, the Devils might have been on the verge of a sweep heading into Game 4.
''To me it's 2-1,'' Stars coach Ken Hitchcock said. ''We win tomorrow and all you people are telling us how great we are.''
Hitchcock admits the Devils deserve the lead, but he doesn't feel New Jersey has dominated.
''With the experience on that team, they are not just going to fold,'' Devils center Bobby Holik said. ''It's just not going to happen. They have a lot of experience. They know what to do when the pressure is on. That's why we cannot think about it's in the bag. That would be the wrong thing to do for us.''
The Stars have played their best hockey after losing in the postseason, winning nine straight following a loss. They also have played well at home. Their loss Saturday night was only their second in 11 playoff games this year and third in 23 over the last two years.
While the Devils are 8-2 on the road in the playoffs this year, they also have had a habit of letting down after a big win.
It happened after the Devils' 7-3 victory in Game 1 and the potential is there following Game 3.
''As quickly as we won the first game, we lost the second,'' rookie John Madden said. ''As quickly as we won the third, we can loss the fourth. You've got to be able to finish them when they are vulnerable. You've got to kick the sleeping dog when it's down.''
Dallas has struggled offensively. Other than the Mike Modano, Hull, Jere Lehtinen line, the Stars haven't gotten much from their other three lines.
Joe Nieuwendyk, the MVP of last year's playoffs, has been invisible playing without Jamie Langenbrunner, who has been sidelined with a knee injury.
Langenbrunner has skated in recent days and Hitchcock hopes to have him in the lineup tonight.
While the return of Langenbrunner might help Nieuwendyk, the Stars need to find a way to solve the Devils' neutral-zone play. Dallas is having trouble getting through the middle and that's limited its offense to six goals, two of which came with Game 1 already decided.
''We heard that some people said our team looked a little tired,'' Dallas forward Kirk Muller said. ''I think it is just the style of the game right now. You are fighting for every inch out there and there is no space. But I think we still have a lot left in the tank. We've just got to use it a little better and get better results.''
Defensively, the Stars have to do better with the Devils' top line of Jason Arnott, Petr Sykora and Patrik Elias. The line scored both goals Saturday night and has six of the Devils' 10 in the series.
''Right now we are feeling confident and we are playing really patient hockey,'' Elias said. ''We've got to stick to it 'till we win the Cup.''
Whether the Stars can prevent that remains to be seen.
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