For the third straight time in the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Dallas Stars have lost Game 1 at home. The most recent came on Thursday night against the Edmonton Oilers, with Connor McDavid stealing back home-ice advantage with a double overtime dagger at the American Airlines Center.

Ahead of Game 2 of the Western Conference Final on Saturday night in Texas, Stars head coach Pete DeBoer admitted his team wasn't at its best in Game 1.

“One team kind of came into the game with a Game 7 mindset — them,” the bench boss said after Thursday's 3-2 loss, per's Tracey Myers. “And I thought we looked like we had kind of a five-day-off mindset. It's just thin margins. So we have to get that fixed.”

The Stars fell behind 2-0 in the series opener, allowing two goals in quick succession to playoff leading scorer Leon Draisaitl and Zach Hyman early in the second period.

Tyler Seguin was the catalyst of the comeback in his first conference final game in 13 years, scoring once in the second and once late in regulation to force overtime.

But it wasn't to be for Dallas in Game 1. They couldn't score on a four-minute high-sticking penalty to McDavid early in the extra frame, and he would eventually silence the crowd just 32 seconds into double overtime.

“We don't think we played nearly our best,” forward Sam Steel said after the loss, per Myers. He's been held off the scoresheet since a multi-point outing in Game 4 against the Colorado Avalanche in Round 2.

The Stars know they need to be better in Game 2, else fall into an 0-2 hole heading north to Canada.

Oilers find a way on the road in Game 1

The Edmonton Oilers celebrates center Connor McDavid (97) scoring the game winning goal against the Dallas Stars during the second overtime period in game one of the Western Conference Final of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at American Airlines Center.
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Oilers deserve a lot of credit for pulling out a gutsy Game 1 win, especially with short rest after a thrilling Game 7 win against the Vancouver Canucks on the road in Round 2.

One place Dallas absolutely needs to be better if it hopes to win the series is with the man advantage. The Stars' powerplay was 0-for-5 in Game 1, being stymied time and again by the postseason's best penalty kill (92.5 percent, with 37 kills in 40 tries, per Myers).

It was especially noticeable in the extra frame, when the PP couldn't find a way to send the fans into a frenzy.

“We had a shooting mentality,” rookie standout Logan Stankoven said of the overtime powerplay. “Just even from the bench, I could see the guys were hungry to get pucks on net and yeah, a couple of posts back to back. Just so close. Would've been nice to end it right there, but yeah, just going to make adjustments and make sure we bear down next game.”

It was another loss in a Game 1 for the Stars, who haven't captured the opening game of a series since the 2020 Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Dallas lost that series in six games, but have pulled out two-hard fought victories in 2024 against the last two defending champions in the Vegas Golden Knights and Avalanche, respectively.

So this is familiar territory for a deep Stars roster.

“We're in this position. We were ready to go, kind of get that win the other night. Didn't happen,” said Joe Pavelski, who has more playoff goals than any other active player.

“I think the biggest thing, there's good character in this room and then the understanding of, it's not over. We have to go do a job and you're in a little bit of desperation mode right away. You want to go. This next game's important.”

The Stars will look to get the series back on even terms when puck drops at American Airlines Center on Saturday night.