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Stars present Golden Knights in Game 7: ‘Nothing better’

Stars present Golden Knights in Game 7: ‘Nothing better’

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After missing a chance to eliminate the defending Stanley Cup champions in a hard-fought Game 6 on Friday, Dallas Stars coach Peter DeBoer was already looking forward to Sunday’s home game against the Vegas Golden Knights.

“There’s nothing better than Game 7,” he said. “That’s what you dreamed of playing in. The next best thing is coaching it. Just excited. I am enthusiastic about our group. I’m excited for the fans in Dallas. Let’s go home and drop the puck.’

The Stars secured home ice for the deciding game in this first-round series by finishing top in the Western Conference with 113 points, proving that the regular season actually means something when it comes to the playoffs.

“Isn’t this what it’s all about?” DeBoer said. “This is exactly the place you want to be, playing to progress, one game at home and let it fly.”

DeBoer knows a thing or two about Game 7s. He is a perfect 7-0 in that situation, including a win against the Golden Knights when he coached at San Jose in 2019. Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy is 2-2 in Game 7 action.

The Golden Knights won the first two games of the best-of-seven series in Dallas 4-3 and 3-1. But Dallas recovered to win the next three in a row before falling 2-0 in Las Vegas on Friday.

Noah Hanifin scored the game winner on a wrist shot that deflected off Stars defenseman Ryan Suter’s stick midway through the third period and Adin Hill, who finished with 23 saves, kept him standing. Mark Stone added an empty-netter to seal it with 18.9 seconds left.

“I’m excited to get into this series, you probably expected this,” said star forward Tyler Seguin. “If you had asked us at 2-0 if we would win Game 7 at home, we would have said yes. So it must be exciting.”

Vegas is 2-1 in Game 7 in its young history, winning the last one in 2021 6-2 over the Minnesota Wild.

“We have to stick to the same plan that got us here,” Stone said. “We have played big games before. Everyone in this room has played big games. You just have to put your best foot forward. It’s a one-match elimination.”

“We have to do more of what we did tonight,” Vegas defenseman Alex Pietrangelo added. “Tonight it was basically like dealing with a Game 7. It’s do or die. If you look at our group, we rise to the occasion. We did that last year.”

DeBoer said his team had nothing to be down about after Friday’s loss. Jake Oettinger stopped 28 of 29 shots and continued his standout play in the series.

“It was a great hockey game,” DeBoer said. “The fans got their money’s worth. Entertaining. Great goal work.

“What a great game for goaltenders,” Cassidy added. “It’s 0-0 in the third and sometimes those are snoozefests, but it wasn’t tonight. I think it was one of those games where the goalkeepers were the two dominant players in the game and something had to be done.”

Dallas’ Radek Faksa returns for Sunday’s game after being sidelined since the third period of Game 2 with an undisclosed injury. He replaces Ty Dellandrea, who scored the winning goal for the Stars in their 4-2 win over Vegas in Game 4 on Monday.

Sunday’s winner will face the Colorado Avalanche in the second round.

– Media at field level