Dallas Stars Aim for Faster Start in Game 2

Dallas Stars | Image by The Dallas Stars/Twitter

The Dallas Stars enter Game 2 against the Vegas Golden Knights in familiar territory, facing a 1-0 deficit.

While it’s a much less-than-ideal start for the regular-season Western Conference champions, experience from the past has taught them to remain confident and come back with a vengeance in the next game. After all, during its run to the Western Conference Final last postseason, Dallas dropped Game 1 in all three rounds it played.

“We didn’t play our best game, but we were in it the whole time, and obviously, the shots were heavily in our favor,” forward Matt Duchene told the media Wednesday. “If we can repeat that part of it and improve our game to the level we think we should be at, then it gives us the best chance to win tonight.”

Dallas got off to a tough start in Game 1 on Monday, facing a Vegas powerplay less than 30 seconds into the game during a first period in which the teams combined for four goals. While only four penalties were called throughout the game, Vegas’ conversions made quite a difference.

“They were 2-for-2 on the power play, and we were 0-for-2, so that shows a big difference, right?” Dallas forward Wyatt Johnston said after Wednesday’s morning skate. “You want to be able to make sure you’re getting those kills, not only to not give up the goal, but it can also build some momentum for us, especially playing at home in front of our fans. We’re going to get them into it with a big kill, and then obviously power plays, too, making sure we’re capitalizing on our chance. It’s so important. It can make or break a game or series.”

“I think the bottom line of the game, particularly [against] this team in Vegas, you can’t chase the game,” Stars head coach Pete DeBoer added. “If you get behind, [with] the way they defend and don’t take penalties, it’s really hard to come back into games. I think we learned that last year in the playoffs. … That’s something we’ve got to avoid.”

The early penalties put the Stars behind quickly in Game 1, but Dallas otherwise played a good game as it battled back within a goal in the third period. While the power play success was a significant factor, DeBoer doesn’t expect penalties to become a glaring issue in the series.

“Neither team’s going to take a lot of penalties in this series unless something dramatically shifts in a game where the emotions take over or something,” he told the media Wednesday morning. “This series will be decided five-on-five for the most part.”

The Stars will try to even the series at 1-1 when the puck drops at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday at the American Airlines Center.

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