Needless to say, the Western Conference Finals haven’t gone the way the Dallas Stars hoped. In Games 1 and 2 versus the Vegas Golden Knights, the Stars lost twice in overtime. This gave the team reason for optimism as they headed home for Game 3. A couple more bounces of the puck in their direction, and they could win a game to get back into the series. However, to say that didn’t happen would be an understatement. The wheels completely fell off in Game 3. Not only did Dallas look completely outmatched, losing 4-0, but Stars’ captain Jamie Benn was ejected and later suspended 2 games for a vicious cross-checking penalty on Golden Knights’ captain Mark Stone. So even if the Stars win tonight, Benn will be unavailable for Game 5. If the Stars lose tonight, the 2nd game of the suspension will start at the beginning of next year.
It sure seems like the Stars have reached the end of the line here. However, they still have a chance. First and foremost, the Stars have to control themselves. Things got out of hand quickly with Benn being ejected and the Stars being down 3-0 at the end of the 1st period in Game 3. The only chance Dallas has to keep their season alive is by playing within themselves and remembering how they got the Western Conference Finals in the first place. Goalie Jake Oettinger also needs to step up tonight. With Benn out, the offense may sputter in tonight’s game, at least in the early part of the game. Getting off to a fast start is critical. If the Stars ever needed to score first this season, tonight is it. Getting their home crowd involved and giving them a reason to go crazy will be required as well.
It’s obviously an uphill battle for the Stars.