Most of the talk about the Vegas Golden Knights and Dallas Stars matchup has been about Dallas dethroning the defending champs.
Dallas also exacted revenge, and many NHL fans were happy seeing Vegas lose due to their use of the “LTIR loophole.”

There is another story that has been either ignored or simply overlooked.

And that’s Stars’ head coach Pete DeBoer on the winning handshake line for the first time in three playoff meetings in five years.


Having coached both teams, DeBoer was finally a winner when these rivals out west clashed.


2020 WCF

In the first chapter of the DeBoer connection between the two rivals, the Stars took the conference finals in five games. While the Golden Knights appeared to outplay Dallas every game, Vegas had an issue with finishing in four of five bouts.

It was former Stars’ goalie Anton Khudobin who stole the series where the games played don’t do how competitive the series was justice. The Golden Knights couldn’t score on Dobby. That goaltending brought the Stars time to score game-winning goals in game two and game five for the Stars to win especially when the game went past 60 minutes.

2023 WCF (Switching Sides)

Likely the most frustrating postseason loss among the three meetings personally for DeBoer. Three years after seeing his team in Vegas fall to Dallas in five, DeBoer found himself coaching Dallas in a loss in six games against his old team. Salt on the wound, the Golden Knights front office fired him the year before. It was a result when the Stars beat out Vegas for a wildcard spot in the playoffs in 2022. Vegas didn’t make the dance that year.

Heading into the 2024 season, DeBoer had a simple message for his players. Less for more. A battle cry that has been all over social media since the end of the regular season. Where all players put the team before padding stats. Turning the Stars into a 52-win team, the best in the west, and a deep team at every position that’s a threat to anybody they face this postseason.

2024 WCQF

Last year’s playoff was probably the worst matchup of these two rivals. However, this was the best matchup without debate for the coach.

Nobody on the Dallas bench wanted this series more than DeBoer. Even if it was ‘just the first round,’ a dragon was slayed for the coach.


 

While DeBoer and his Stars moved on to round two, that series vs Vegas was an iconic one. Filled with many storylines for Stars fans to feast on for years to come.
Not a bad outcome, or one for hindsight for round one, especially when your coach improves to a personal 8-0 record in game seven.

PHOTO: Las Vegas Review-Journal

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