The Dallas Stars continue on their four-game homestand to close out the regular season with a vital Tuesday night matchup against the Vegas Golden Knights. Dallas can clinch a berth in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs with a regulation victory tonight.
To Clinch or Not to Clinch for Dallas
Well, there is no hiding the importance of tonight’s game for both teams. With a regulation victory, the Stars would clinch at least the final wild card. For Vegas, their season is on the line as their playoff hopes have continued to slip.
“I woke up excited, I am going to bed excited,” Rick Bowness said this morning. “Can’t wait for the day to start, can’t wait to get down to the rink and talk to the guys. Gameday man, there is nothing like it.”
The Stars are attempting to clinch a spot but still have their sights set on the higher seed in the West. They enter tonight’s tilt just one point behind Nashville and have the easier schedule the rest of the way. However, Dallas has not always had success against lesser teams, so nothing is a given in the final three matchups of the regular season.
“Stay in the moment, that’s it,” Rick Bowness said. “Shift to shift, period to period. You can’t worry about Colorado or Calgary at this point, it is just stay in the moment. The magic number is four. We need to get a win and they lose in regulation and that’s what we are looking at. Whether it is tomorrow night, Wednesday, or if it goes to Friday, it goes to Friday.”
Stars Excited for the Opportunity
The Stars are just two seasons removed from their biggest playoff run in 20 years. The 2020 journey was one to remember and a true cinderella team finding their way within just two wins of the greatest trophy in sports. However, all of this was done thousands of miles from Dallas in an empty building in Edmonton. Now, they have a chance to clinch a spot and earn at least two playoff games in their home building in front of their fans.
“Honestly, our fans have been unreal these last few years. They are really cheering us on and they are really into the game. It’s unreal to see them in the games just standing up, and it for sure gives us an energy boost. To be able to clinch a playoff spot here today, move back into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and play round after round, it’s exciting and it’s exactly what we want to do with our fans.”
Dallas will not have home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs but they will look to take advantage of every single home game they have. Their fans deserve it, the team deserves it, and this city certainly deserves it. Clinch a spot, and it should be a hell of a ride.
Golden Knights Scouting Report
For Vegas, tonight is do or die. With a devastating shootout loss to the San Jose Sharks on Sunday, the Golden Knight’s playoff hopes are now hanging by a thread. In order for them to have a shot, they need to first win tonight against Dallas, and in regulation would certainly help.
“It’s do or die,” Klingberg said of what he expects from Vegas. “It’s a big game for both teams and it’s like a playoff game, it IS a playoff game.”
Vegas will be without goaltender Robin Lehner, who will have season-ending surgery. Jonathan Marchessault leads the way for the Golden Knights with 29 goals and 64 points on the season. Newcomer Jack Eichel has been okay since coming over from Buffalo with 21 points in 31 games but they certainly could use more from the former elite scorer.
- Jake Oettinger will start in net for the second straight game
- Dallas will use the same lineup as Saturday night against Seattle with Alexander Radulov, Marian Studenic, and Jacob Peterson as the scratches upfront and Andrej Sekera and Joel Hanley scratched on the backend.
He Said It
“This is a great day to be part of the National Hockey League,” Bowness said with a smile.
Sam Nestler is a credentialed Dallas Stars contributor for the ‘The Hockey Writers’. Growing up in New Jersey, Sam has been playing hockey since he was 7 years old. Developing a love for writing in college, Sam uses his hockey knowledge to create analyses and articles on every aspect of the game. Sam also hosts his own podcast on Spotify, the “Slapshot Sammy’ podcast, breaking down action across the Stars, the NHL, and college hockey. Check out the podcast here, and give his latest article a read!