Western Final: It starts tonight
The day after the victory of the Florida Panthers in the last seconds of the fourth overtime (!) as the curtain raiser for the Eastern Final against the Carolina Hurricanes, that of the West will get underway tonight at T-Mobile Arena.
The first game between the Vegas Golden Knights and the Dallas Stars will be presented at 8 p.m. on TVA Sports and on TVA Sports Direct.
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All observers agree that this confrontation between these two powers will be thrilling.
The team playing at home has a clear advantage. The Golden Knights have one of the best crowds in the National Hockey League, which should give the Pacific Division champions a bit of a boost. The Golden Knights have won four of their six playoff games from the comfort of home.
The Stars also play their home games in a hostile and festive environment.
In the longer term, it is their depth that we will have to worry about, but for now, a gain to start the series is very likely due to the parity between the two formations.
The Stars have beaten the Golden Knights in five games at this same stage in the 2020 playoffs. At the time, head coach Peter DeBoer was on the enemy side.
DeBoer is feverish at the idea of the possibility of revenge.
The 54-year-old was shown the exit door by the “Golden Knights” on March 16, 2022, after spending three seasons behind the team bench. DeBoer became the Stars head coach a month after that firing.
“Obviously, I don't hide that this series has a special meaning. It would be the same for anyone in this situation. It happens all the time in the world, doesn't it? You leave a job and you find a new position, except that now you face your old team in the conference final.”
“The important thing for me is to focus on hockey and on the players. It's not about Pete DeBoer and his history with Vegas,” he added, however.
An unlikely starter
If goaltender Jake Oettinger can show more consistency in net, DeBoer and the Stars' chances of success will increase.
The author of a sparkling 37-11 season -11 and a .919 save percentage has its playoff ups and downs (.903 save percentage), but he had the credit of getting up at the right time in the decisive matchup against the Seattle Kraken.  ;
The Stars are aiming for their second appearance in four years in the Stanley Cup Final. Their opponents only participated in their first year of existence in 2018. They had then lost in five games against the Washington Capitals.
As for the Golden Knights, they will rely on goaltender Adin Hill, who is fourth in the team standings behind Logan Thompson, Robin Lehner and Laurent Broissoit, who was injured in Game 3 against the Edmonton Oilers. The first two have been in the infirmary for a long time.