Stars Face Golden Knights in Unfair Opener Matchup

The Dallas Stars, after an impressive regular season, face the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Vegas Golden Knights, in the first round of the playoffs, despite being the top seed in the Western Conference and having a strong team, including facing challenges from the well-strengthened and motivated Golden Knights.

Oh, the Dallas Stars? They absolutely killed it this regular season. With a whopping 113 points, they not only topped the Western Conference but also snagged the second-best record in the entire NHL. And what’s their prize for such an impressive feat? A face-off against the reigning champs, the Vegas Golden Knights. Yeah, you heard that right.

Despite landing in the second wild-card spot, Vegas wasn’t exactly slacking, amassing 98 points. True to form, they scooped up the trade deadline’s hottest assets. Plus, they’re likely welcoming back two key players from the injury list, just in time for the series kickoff. That’s happening Monday, 9:30 p.m. ET, at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. Mark your calendars.

Now, the Stars aren’t just any team. They boast a top-six forward lineup that’s nothing short of lethal. We’re talking Jason Robertson, Joe Pavelski, Roope Hintz, and Matt Duchene. Then there’s Miro Heiskanen holding down the fort as top defenseman, with Jake Oettinger in goal. Despite their powerhouse roster, the Stars are pegged as favorites to win the seven-game series. But don’t be fooled. The Golden Knights won’t be going down without a fight.

Vegas’ forward lineup? Already stacked. Jack Eichel, Mark Stone, Jonathan Marchessault, and William Karlsson were now joined by Tomáš Hertl, snagged from the San Jose Sharks. And let’s not overlook Noah Hanifin, fresh from the Calgary Flames, strengthening an already formidable defense alongside Alex Pietrangelo, Shea Theodore, and Brayden McNabb.

Injuries? Vegas has had its share. Stone was sidelined with a lacerated spleen since Feb. 20, and Pietrangelo was out due to an appendectomy. Yet, both were back on the ice, fully participating in Saturday’s practice. Talk about timing.

For Dallas, this series is more than just a game. It’s a chance for redemption after last season’s elimination by the Golden Knights in the Western Conference Final. Plus, there’s a personal angle. Stars coach Peter DeBoer? He used to coach Vegas. Talk about a plot twist.

Yet, despite all their regular-season success, facing the Golden Knights feels like a dubious reward for the Stars. They’ve proven themselves as the conference’s top team, but now they must prove it all over again in the playoffs.

Alex Thompson
Alex Thompson
Alex Thompson is a Senior Writer for HockeyMonitor. With a background in Sports Media, Alex joined the team in 2022. He focuses on providing the latest hockey news, game scores, and fresh NHL trade rumors.

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