Just six days ago, things were not looking good for the Dallas Stars. After two overtime losses in Vegas, the team played their worst game of the playoffs and fell 4-0 in front of their home crowd to go down three games to zero in the Western Conference Finals. Jake Oettinger was pulled, Jamie Benn was given a major penalty two minutes into the game and would later be suspended, and Evgenii Dadonov got hurt. As you can imagine, the fans were not happy with the team’s performance, and they sure let the Stars know it.
There’s a reason only four teams have ever come back from a 3-0 deficit in the NHL playoffs, and given their Game 3 performance, not many people were ready to predict Dallas would be the fifth. Sure, the games were closer than the 3-0 lead indicated, but that was also the case in the Eastern series, and Florida still went on to sweep Carolina. With a shaky Jake Oettinger and a captain watching from the press box for Games 4 and 5, Dallas faced a very difficult task to get themselves back in this series. And then they did it.
Everyone Chipping in For Wins in Games 4 and 5
In Game 4, the top dogs came up big for Dallas. Jason Robertson scored twice to even the score before Joe Pavelski (who else?) ended the game on an overtime powerplay. Even more encouraging was the play of Jake Oettinger, who made 37 saves on 39 shots in a huge bounce back performance. Despite the win, the players and fans alike knew that the bigger test on the road was still ahead.
For Game 5, the super Stars weren’t all over the scoresheet again, but the depth players stepped up. Luke Glendening scored in the first period to even the game at 1 and Ty Dellandrea added two goals in the third to pull away from Vegas and force Game 6, shocking the fans at T-Mobile Arena. Once again, Jake Oettinger was great when he needed to be, making 27 saves on 29 shots. It was the team’s first regulation win of the Conference Finals and showed everyone that with Dallas getting their secondary scoring involved and goaltender hot, this series is FAR from over.
Now, we’ve got a Game 6 at home with Jamie Benn returning to the lineup. If you believe momentum stays with a team between games, then the Stars would certainly have it coming into tonight. These squads are evenly matched, and nothing will come easy, but the belief must be there now for Dallas. To succeed tonight, they’ll need more of what they got in the last two games. Jake Oettinger must be good, the defence needs to limit the Knights’ star players, and the offence cannot go dry. It might seem like a lot, but once again, there’s a reason no team has ever come back from being down 3-0 in the Conference Finals. It’s not like the Knights are new to playoff hockey, either.
Despite the tall hill that still needs to be climbed, we know who we’re cheering for here. Nothing’s better than a Game 7 in the NHL playoffs, except for maybe a Game 7 in which a team has lost and then won three straight games. Give us the drama, give us the excitement and give us the Stars in Game 6 tonight!
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