After losing back-to-back home games to teams in last place in their division, the Dallas Stars will try to snap a five-game losing streak in Las Vegas on Saturday night when they face the Western Conference-leading Vegas Golden Knights.
The Stars, who have dropped eight of their last 10 games, still maintained a one-point lead over Winnipeg in the Central Division heading into Friday's action. It will be the second time that head coach Peter DeBoer, fired by the Golden Knights last May after injury-ravaged Vegas failed to make the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in franchise history, returns to T-Mobile Arena to face his old team.
Dallas won that first meeting on Jan. 16, 4-0, behind 27 saves by Jake Oettinger. That marked the first time since April 16, 2022, that Vegas had been shut out. DeBoer celebrated in the locker room afterward by chugging a can of beer.
"Nailed it!" DeBoer, who went 98-50-12 in 2 1/2 seasons with the Golden Knights, said afterward with a smile. "It was a big win!"
After losing to Metropolitan cellar-dweller Columbus 4-1 on Saturday and blowing a 3-0 second-period lead in a 4-3 loss to Chicago, which is last in the Central, on Wednesday, Dallas could use another positive result in Saturday's return to Las Vegas. A regulation win would bring the Stars within one point of the Golden Knights for the top spot in the Western Conference.
"We're in a very tight race with a couple teams for first in the West, and that's our expectation," center Tyler Seguin said.
Dallas has had two days to regroup from the collapse against the Blackhawks. The Stars led 3-0 after 25 minutes on goals by Seguin, Jamie Benn and Jason Robertson but Patrick Kane and Max Domi each scored twice for Chicago to pull out the win.
"It's definitely a punch in the gut," said Robertson, who is tied for fourth in the NHL with 35 goals. "We gave up three two-on-one goals and that can't happen, especially when we're in this little rut to begin with. It's unacceptable, and I'm sure everyone in here is going to regroup."
The Stars face a Vegas team that has won six of its last seven games to jump the Golden Knights into the No. 1 spot in the Western Conference standings and comes in off a 4-3 overtime win over Calgary on Thursday.
It was the 10th come-from-behind victory of the season for the Golden Knights, who lead the NHL in that category.
Vegas trailed 3-1 late in the second period but rallied to tie it in the third period on goals by Zach Whitecloud and William Carrier.
Alex Pietrangelo scored the game-winner 42 seconds into overtime when he swept in a rebound of a Jonathan Marchessault shot that clanged off the crossbar and landed in the crease behind Flames goalie Dan Vladar.
"Getting the two points is obviously what you want," Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy said. "But I was very pleased with the fact that we got (back) into the game by playing hard.
"Matching them hit for hit. Winning our puck battles with what they did to us in the first period. That's important. You have to win those games if you expect to advance (in the playoffs)."
--Field Level Media