DETROIT - The Detroit Red Wings sound as if the Western Conference finals have lasted long enough.

They're ready to eliminate the Dallas Stars this afternoon in Game 5 and earn a spot in the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since winning the title in 2002.

"We want to finish them off as soon as we can," Detroit forward Tomas Holmstrom said yesterday. "We want to take care of it right away.

"Otherwise, we would be stupid."

The Stars, of course, hope to ruin the Red Wings' plans.

"This is huge," Dallas goal

tender Marty Turco said. "They don't want to bring it back here for a Game 6, obviously, and we don't want to die."

Detroit set a franchise record by winning nine straight games in a postseason before losing by 3-1 Wednesday night in Dallas.

Goaltender Chris Osgood said the setback might have helped the NHL's top-seeded team.

"Sometimes you take things for granted when you're winning so much and you forget how hard it is, or how much effort we put into winning those nine in a row," Osgood said. "We didn't think we were going to go 16-0.

"But we'll be ready, and we're going to have our best game of the playoffs."

The Red Wings will be without their best playoff performer, center Johan Franzen, who will miss his fourth straight game with concussion-like symptoms.

The Stars have four banged-up players out for Game 5: Stu Barnes, Jere Lehtinen, Philippe Boucher and Mark Fistric.

Laviolette staying in Carolina.

Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford said the team would retain coach Peter Laviolette, who in 2006 led Carolina to its only Stanley Cup title.