Last year, the Dallas Stars only visited T-Mobile Arena once during the regular season. In that one visit, they put on a beautiful showing and hopped into the history books. Tonight, they make their triumphant return to Vegas for the first time this season.
12-10-1. That was the Dallas Stars‘ record when they visited Vegas for the first and only time during the 2017-18 season. They sat around the .500 mark and near the playoff picture line, but still had some underlying internal problems as they took on the Golden Knights on Nov. 28, 2017.
The thing about the Stars at that point in the regular season was that they hadn’t hit their stride yet. The month of December really saw Dallas break out and play their best hockey through the end of February. But, in late November, they were 3-3-1 in their previous seven contests and were in need of a breakout.
And, as they entered the desert to take on the Golden Knights for the first time at T-Mobile Arena, the deck seemed stacked against them. Vegas was 15-6-1 and had put together an incredible and unexpected early season push in their debut year. They had own five straight games, owned one of the highest-scoring offenses in the NHL, and looked to be a Stanley Cup contender.
T-Mobile Arena had also been incredibly kind to the home team, with Vegas holding a 9-1-0 record on home ice when the Stars visited for the first time. Considering the Stars were a humbling 3-8-1 on the road at that point, the odds seemed to be strongly weighted in favor of the Golden Knights.
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And so, the Stars entered Sin City on a Tuesday night in late November, still searching for an identity and hoping for a spark of some sort. They found it against the Knights.
After dropping their home opener to Vegas in game one of the regular season, the Stars bounced back in the second matchup and knocked off the Golden Knights 3-0. And though that’s impressive, it’s only a mere part of the enthralling story.
Dallas handed the Golden Knights their second loss on home ice in 11 games. It was their first loss at T-Mobile Arena since Oct. 13. It also snapped their red hot five-game win streak in which they outscored opponents 22-12.
Also, if you cannot remember which Stars scored the three goals, here’s a quick refresher: Radek Faksa, Radek Faksa, and Radek Faksa.
The win over Vegas happened to serve as the breeding ground for Faksa’s first career hat trick. Though he’s typically known as a third-line grinder that focuses more on the defensive side of the puck, Faksa had the hot stick against the Golden Knights. He scored all three goals in a span of 6:46 during the second period, including two in eight seconds. Those two helped Faksa etch his name in the Stars’ history book as the fastest Star to record two consecutive goals.
His hat trick happened to be the first ever scored inside T-Mobile Arena. Vegas had averaged almost 5.00 goals per game at home going into their matchup against Dallas, but neither the home nor road team had scored a hat trick up to that point.
In addition to the Knights losing their five-game win streak, the Stars also snapped a five-game losing streak on the road. The win ended up being the first road victory of November for the Dallas Stars and kickstarted a 5-1-0 road stretch going into December.
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And finally, let’s talk about the goaltending. After putting on a strong performance in the season opener against Vegas but leaving early due to injury, Ben Bishop started for Dallas in the road contest. His numbers away from home were rough going into the game, but he righted the ship in time, stopping all 34 shots faced and shutting out the Golden Knights for the first time in team history. Vegas was only shut out three times during the regular season, and Bishop made the first dent.
All in all, it was an impressive win that set some records (whether significant or not) for both teams as well as for different players.
Tonight, the Dallas Stars will be back in the desert for more. They face off with the Golden Knights in the first of three matchups throughout the 2018-19 season. Vegas is the only Pacific division team that the Stars have yet to face this year, meaning that the Golden Knights are also the only Pacific division team that Dallas has not defeated this year. The Stars are 9-0-1 against the Pacific so far in 2018-19 and are currently riding a four-game win streak.
But Vegas is bringing their own challenge to the table. The Knights have won seven of their last nine contests and are quickly forcing their way back into the playoff race after a slow start to the year.
Puck drop is scheduled for 8 p.m. as Dallas looks to go for a five-game win streak. And if they can redo what they did at T-Mobile Arena last season, they should be in good shape.
Sometimes, replaying history can be a good thing.