The Dallas Stars are two wins away from making history against the Vegas Golden Knights in the 2023 Western Conference Final, but the team knows there is still a long way to go between them and the Stanley Cup Final.
“We put ourselves in a really tough spot, and to get to this point right now, it shows you the character that we have in our room and the belief we have,” goaltender Jake Oettinger said on Sunday, according to Associated Press.
“Even being down 3-0, the series was far from over. We've done our job up to this point, but unfortunately for us, our backs are still against the wall.”
Oettinger looks to be back in form, which is great news for Dallas fans; he's stopped 64 of 68 shots since being pulled in the first period of Game 3.
The Western Conference Final certainly feels a lot different than it did just under a week ago; Jason Robertson is scoring goals again, Oettinger has been excellent in Games 4 and 5, and captain Jamie Benn is set to return from a two-game suspension on Monday night.
“We're playing a desperate hockey team, and nobody ever said it was going to be easy. We've got to match their urgency and desperation,” Vegas defenseman Alec Martinez said, per AP.
Martinez was a member of the 2014 Los Angeles Kings team that reverse swept the San Jose Sharks in the first round before incredibly winning the Stanley Cup the same year.
The pressure has firmly shifted from the Stars to the Golden Knights, after Dallas became the fifth team to extend an NHL conference final series to a sixth game after losing the first three, per AP.
They'll have the home crowd at their backs as they try to force a Game 7 back in Las Vegas. Although Jamie Benn didn't play in Game 5, he travelled with his teammates, and will be back in the lineup at American Airlines Center.
Monday night is a huge night for sports fans, as the Dallas Stars will try to force a Game 7 on the same night that the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat will play a decider at TD Garden.