Only four teams in National Hockey League history have overcome an 0-3 series hole in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and emerged victorious — and that's exactly what the Dallas Stars believe they can do against the Vegas Golden Knights in the 2023 Western Conference Final.
Joe Pavelski was on the wrong end of the last time it happened; his San Jose Sharks blew a 3-0 lead to the Los Angeles Kings in the 2014 postseason, losing a heartbreaking Game 7 and watching their rivals win the Stanley Cup.
“They're not fun when you're on the other side,” Pavelski remembered on Friday, according to NHL.com's Tracey Myers.
“The one against LA, yeah, you never think it could happen. Guys are competing. There were a couple of tight games. And you don't want to be in those situations but when you're on the other side, you understand it can happen. It's such a fine line this time of year.”
Extremely accurate words from Pavelski, as the parity in the NHL today is greater than it's ever been. Vegas won the first two games of the series in overtime against the Stars, while Dallas won Game 4 in the extra frame. Any of those three games could have gone a different way.
Regardless, the Stars find themselves facing another elimination contest in Game 5 at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday night.
“We don't have much choice but to believe in it, right? That's where we're at,” Dallas coach Peter DeBoer explained on Friday. “I do believe in it, and I think there's always a team that puts itself in this spot and climbs out of it. Doesn't happen all the time, but it happens enough that, why not us?”
The odds are against them, and honestly, it probably won't happen. But Dallas still believes.
“We'll see where this goes. We're excited about tonight,”Pavelski said after Thursday's win. “We'll get some rest, and we'll look to do it again, keep trying to throw a little doubt in their minds.”
The Stars will try to etch their name in history by being the fifth team to overcome a three-game deficit to return to their first Stanley Cup Final since 2020.