The Stars Align: Game 1 Bounce-Back Trend

Dallas Stars
Dallas Stars | Image by Dallas Stars/Facebook

The Dallas Stars seem to enjoy building suspense for their fan base with a consistent theme of losing Game 1 matches in the playoffs and then bouncing back to defy the odds.

In four of the last five best-of-seven matches, the Stars have lost Game 1 and then gone on to win the series, a nearly unheard-of record in the NHL. Over the course of the league’s history, teams that lose Game 1 are 247-522, but the Stars seem to have a knack for overcoming the odds, even if it breaks fans’ hearts.

“The main thing is you’ve got to find a way to survive and move on,” said Stars coach Pete DeBoer, as reported by NHL.com. “We’ve got to park this game. We’ve been in this situation before. We’re the best road team in the league. I’m not concerned about that. We need to find another level in home games, and the wins will take care of themselves.”

In Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals, the Stars put out the scoring effort that has defined the season with a 3-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers. It was the grit and determination that DeBoer has instilled in this team since his hiring in 2022.

DeBoer knows how to power a team through the ultra-competitive playoff series and get to the pinnacle, an opportunity to hoist the Stanley Cup. However, despite a stellar coaching career and an overall record of 612-421, DeBoer has never secured the ultimate victory. With Dallas, DeBoer has been excellent, recording a 99-42 mark in just two seasons and leading the team to back-to-back playoff appearances.

DeBoer has led two teams to the Stanley Cup Final. He first appeared with the New Jersey Devils in 2011-12, losing to the Los Angeles Kings. He made his second appearance with the San Jose Sharks in 2015-16, losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Stars represent the best opportunity for DeBoer to get over the hump and achieve the ultimate goal in nearly a decade. The team has shown remarkable resiliency in recent seasons, with bounce-back wins in series games. The Stars have emerged victorious from Game 1 losses to beat Minnesota, Seattle, Vegas, and Colorado with DeBoer at the helm. Last season, the Stars ultimately were eliminated by the Las Vegas Golden Knights in the Western Conference Finals in six games.

The Game 2 victory on Saturday sets up an epic Game 3 on the road. The Stars were the NHLs best road team this season, notching a 26-10-5 record. A victory in Alberta could be the catalyst that powers the team through the Finals and into a showdown for the Stanley Cup.

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