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Round 3, Game 3 Preview: Dallas Stars vs. Vegas Golden Knights

Credit: Tim Heitman / Dallas Stars

Last night, the Carolina Hurricanes dropped a 1-0 decision to the Florida Panthers. They’re now down 0-3 in the series, and are facing the very realistic chance of being swept by this year’s underdog story.

The Dallas Stars are looking to avoid a similar situation tonight against the Vegas Golden Knights. In their favor is that this will be their first game at home this series, not to mention that, overall, they’re coming off a solid Game 2. As Pete DeBoer mentioned in interviews, usually when coming off of a loss this postseason, it was “a poor effort or a below-average effort.” This time, they have a solid foundation to build from.

Even so, the Stars have a tall task ahead of them. The Golden Knights have only lost thrice this postseason, and have won each of the last two games despite allowing the first goal. And if, hockey gods forbid, the game goes into overtime again? Well… let’s burn that bridge when we get there.

Dallas Stars Lineup

Jason Robertson (21) – Roope Hintz (24) – Joe Pavelski (16)
Mason Marchment (27) – Max Domi (18) – Tyler Seguin (91)
Jamie Benn (14) – Wyatt Johnston (53) – Evgenii Dadonov (63)
Joel Kiviranta (25) –  Radek Faksa (12) – Luke Glendening (11)

Ryan Suter (20) – Miro Heiskanen (4)
Thomas Harley (55) — Joel Hanley (44)
Esa Lindell (23) – Colin Miller (6)

Jake Oettinger (29)
Scott Wedgewood (41)

We don’t have any reports from morning skate as of right now, but after going down 0-2, don’t be surprised if Pete DeBoer shakes the lineup a bit. Both Ty Dellandrea and Jani Hakanpää are possibly candidates to slide back in, likely in place of Joel Kiviranta and/or Colin Miller.

Vegas Golden Knights Lineup

Ivan Barbashev (49) – Jack Eichel (9) – Jonathan Marchessault (81)
Reilly Smith (19) – William Karlsson (71) – Nicolas Roy (10)
Brett Howden (21) – Chandler Stephenson (20) – Mark Stone (61)
William Carrier (28) – Theodor Blueger (53) – Keegan Kolesar (55)

Alec Martinez (23) – Alex Pietrangelo (7)
Brayden McNabb (3) – Shea Theodore (27)
Nicolas Hague (14) – Zach Whitecloud (2)

Adin Hill (33)
Jonathan Quick (32)

Likewise, no morning skate lineups yet for Vegas, but changes aren’t expected. Right or wrong, the old adage is “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Keys to the Game

Minimize Mistakes. Dallas was the better team for 57 minutes in Game 2, but Ryan Suter made a pair of costly mistakes leading up to the game-tying goal, and then a bad line change led to the overtime winner. If Dallas can play a similar game but cut out the errors, they should be in good hands.

Line Matchups. Bruce Cassidy got the line matchups he desired in the first two games, leading to strong performances from Jack Eichel and company. Now it’s Pete DeBoer’s chance to play matchmaker and keep things favorable for Dallas.

Bounce-Back Defense. Suter has, deservedly, earned much of the heat from the Game 2 loss. But Esa Lindell also made some bad mistakes, and Thomas Harley struggled much of the game. Even Miro Heiskanen hasn’t been his world-ender self so far this series. Dallas needs its Big D to step up.

Talking Points