May 19, 2023 - Sports

Dallas Stars start Western Conference Finals

Roope Hintz has been a postseason hero this year. Photo: Steph Chambers/Getty Images

The Dallas Stars face their toughest challenge of the postseason as they take on the Vegas Golden Knights in the Western Conference Finals, starting tonight in Nevada.

State of play: Dallas has been extremely hot and cold so far in the playoffs, losing by three or more points three times — and also winning by three or more points four times.

  • Stars goalie Jake Oettinger was other-worldly in last year's playoffs, but this year he's been less reliable, allowing five or more goals in all three second-round losses to the Seattle Kraken.

Meanwhile: Roope Hintz has more postseason points than anyone left in the playoffs. He has nine goals and 10 assists in 13 games.

  • Center Jason Robertson, who led the team in scoring in the regular season, only has two goals in the 13 playoff games this year, but he has 10 assists.
  • Veteran Joe Pavelski has missed five games this postseason, but he has eight goals in the eight games he played.

The big picture: The Golden Knights are better than either of the two teams the Stars have knocked out. Fresh off eliminating the league's MVP last round, Vegas has lost only three games since the playoffs started.

The intrigue: When these two teams met in the 2020 Western Conference Finals, Stars coach Peter DeBoer was behind the Golden Knights' bench.

  • The Stars won that series before losing to Tampa in the Stanley Cup Finals.

The bottom line: Oddsmakers have the Golden Knights as the heavy favorite, but the Stars have already come from behind to win two series this year.


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