canada africa partner reservation Stars-Golden Knights Game 7 winner debated by NHL.com writers

Stars-Golden Knights Game 7 winner debated by NHL.com writers

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Tom Gulitti, staff writer

It’s difficult for me to pick against the defending Stanley Cup champions, but I’m going with the Stars. These are two of the deepest teams in the NHL and it’s played out on the ice in what has been the best series of the first round. So what can make a difference in the deciding game of such an evenly matched series? I’ll start with Dallas coach Pete DeBoer. He’s 7-0 in his career in Game 7s. He knows how to approach these winner-take-all games and get the best out of his players under the pressure. And though home ice hasn’t been a big advantage in this series (each team 1-2 at home), the Stars won Game 5 at American Airlines Center and having last change and an extra boost from the crowd could help in this situation.

Tracey Myers, staff writer

Give me the Stars. I picked them to go all the way and I’m not backing down from that. The rematch of the Western Conference Final from last season has been incredible; it’s been tight. Dallas will win Game 7 and I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if Johnston is there scoring another big goal. The Stars played in three postseason rounds last year and Johnston scored the winning and series-clinching goal in two of them (in Game 6 against the Minnesota Wild in the first round and in Game 7 against the Seattle Kraken in the second round). Don’t be surprised if he rises to the occasion again to help the Stars advance to play the Avalanche.

Dan Rosen, senior writer

I picked the Stars to win the Stanley Cup. I didn’t back off that pick when they were down 2-0. I’m certainly not backing off it now that they’ve won three of the past four games. I’m looking for them to jump out to a hot start — they’ll be aggressive, energized by the home crowd, pushing the pace. Pot one early and we will watch them roll. It’s hard to put the knife through the heart of a champion, which is why the Golden Knights won Game 6. They showed the resiliency we expected from them. But Dallas is back home and confident it can defeat Vegas at American Airlines Center after winning Game 5. The margins are thin, but the Stars have been the better team all season and I’ll make the case in this series too, even though it’s 3-3. Their special teams have been slightly better, they’re winning more face-offs, they’re generating more shots and have more possession time. All of that will make the difference in Game 7, which probably will be another one-goal game, as it should be.

Derek Van Diest, staff writer

The Golden Knights know something about winning as defending Stanley Cup champions, but I think the Stars are the better team and their superiority will come through in Game 7. Dallas still has its best game left to play and I believe will find it at home in the deciding game. After losing the first two games at home, the Stars rebounded with two big wins on the road to tie the series and to me, both those games were must-win games and they came through. Beating the defending Cup champion four times in a row was always going to be difficult, so I’m not surprised Vegas was able to come out on top in Game 6 to force a deciding game, but with Dallas already having had its back against the wall, I think they’ll come through again. Look for veteran forwards Tyler Seguin and Joe Pavelski to have big games and get the Stars into the next round.

Mike Zeisberger, staff writer

There is something to be said about Stanley Cup pedigree, and the Golden Knights know all about that. As talented as the Stars are, they weren’t able to put away Vegas in the Western Conference Final a season ago and I’ll go with the Golden Knights this time around too until DeBoer’s team can prove otherwise. The Knights had lost three straight and faced elimination in Game 6 but rebounded for a 2-0 victory in which they exhibited the composition of a champion, something they’d been missing earlier in the series. Defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, whose lack of discipline led to the Stars’ power-play winner in Game 5, came back to look more like the steadying influence on the back end who has hoisted the Cup twice in his career. And don’t forget the heroics of trade deadline pickup Noah Hanifin; the defenseman showed he’s adopted the Golden Knights’ penchant of coming through in the clutch by scoring the game winner in the third period of Game 6. Vegas has won two of three on the road so home ice in Game 7 doesn’t mean much. Give me the Golden Knights in a very tight affair.