The never-say-die Dallas Stars need two more victories to complete what some believed to be an impossible task just a couple of months ago: win the Stanley Cup.
Whether they can actually complete that feat against the Tampa Bay Lightning, however, remains to be seen.
Thanks to a double-overtime victory on Saturday to force Game 6 on Monday in Edmonton, the Stars are still alive in the Stanley Cup Final. However, they still trail 3-2 in the best-of-seven series against a Lightning team that is a perfect 6-0 in games following a loss in the playoffs.
Even after twice managing victories in the finals, the Stars are facing a huge uphill climb.
"I think we enjoy being called underdogs and every person, really this whole time we've been in the bubble, seeming to choose the other team we're playing," said Stars forward Tyler Seguin, who collected three assists in Saturday's 3-2 comeback victory.
"We relish that. We believe in each other, we've got a confident group and we don't want to leave the bubble, so we're having fun."
The Lightning look to rebound from a disappointing defeat in which they squandered a third-period lead, dominated the first overtime period and then lost thanks to Corey Perry's tally. That said, there appears to be no panic heading into their second chance to clinch the second Stanley Cup in franchise history.
"We've been pretty good about responding after losses," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "We've been doing this for over two months, so we've got a good idea what's ahead of us and how to respond."
Sure, the Lightning will look to make some adjustments for the potential Cup-clinching affair, but the message remains to stay the course that's helped them get this far.
"We knew it was going to be a hard series and we had some good looks in overtime and throughout the game," defenseman Victor Hedman said. "It wasn't our night, and they scored, so at the end of the day, we look forward to (the) next game."
For historical reference, the Lightning have never lost a series in which they have held a 3-1 lead, including all three previous rounds this year. In fact, none of the nine series in which they had that edge even required a Game 7.
The onus is on the Stars to drum up a couple more victories in a do-or-die scenario.
The good news for Dallas, however, was the lesson learned from Saturday's game. After clinging by their collective fingernails in the first overtime, the Stars were every bit as good as the Lightning in the second OT. They earned their win because they were more aggressive instead of sitting back and letting Tampa Bay carry the play.
"We didn't have the right mindset that we normally have going into overtime in that first overtime," Stars interim coach Rick Bowness said. "You can't be afraid to lose, and we were playing not to lose, and we talked about it after the (first) overtime.
"We got to play to win. Play to win and you lose, you lose, but we're going to go for it."
There was one bit of news regarding the Lightning on Sunday. Cooper said captain Steven Stamkos won't play any more during the series. Stamkos returned for Game 4, his first game in seven months after requiring core muscle surgery. He scored a goal, but didn't take a shift after the first period.
"Hopefully the next time you see him on the ice is during a trophy presentation," Cooper said.
--Field Level Media