Dallas Stars have been NHL’s best road team all year. Now, their season depends on it

One D-FW team already proved that dominating the road schedule can be key to winning a championship — going 11-0 in away games en route to their World Series title in November.

Now, five months later, the Stars are trying to take a page out of the Rangers’ book.

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Dallas will hit the road Friday for games Saturday and Monday at T-Mobile Arena. Trailing 0-2 in the series after starting at home, the Stars need to win at least one to guarantee they’ll play at American Airlines Center again this year.

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But luckily for the Stars, they don’t have to start from scratch entering Saturday’s matchup.

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“We’ve been the best road team in the league all year,” Stars coach Pete DeBoer said. “We’ve got to go in there and win some road games.”

The Stars posted a 26-10-5 road record this year, earning points 69.5% of the time — a league high. Over half of their total points this season (57) came in opponents’ buildings. They’re second in the league in goals for per game on the road (3.46) and third in goals against (2.63). While they were still fourth in the league in goals at home (3.71), they were 17th in goals against (3.02).

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Vegas and Dallas had the same points percentage at home this year of .683. Statistically, the Stars are better on the road than Vegas was at home.

“I don’t have an explanation for that, but I’m glad those are the numbers, and I’m glad we’re going on the road,” DeBoer said.

DeBoer said he’d like to think the Stars’ style of play is the reason they’ve been so successful on the road. He said being reliable in multiple aspects of the game from special teams to 5-on-5 play builds a certain level of consistency that translates no matter where you play.

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Forward Tyler Seguin said, in some situations, playing on the road can be easier, even if it seems counterintuitive.

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“In any road game, you’re definitely simplifying,” he said. “I think it’s even more [heightened] in the playoffs of how you’ve got to play simple, defend hard. I think you look at Vegas, and some of their top guys and their top players, and I really don’t even notice them until, all of a sudden, they have a result. They get that one chance and capitalize on it. We haven’t capitalized on those chances.”

Vegas arrived in Dallas knowing they didn’t have much to lose and played like it. The Stars have overcomplicated the game at times this series, always trying to make the extra pass or the fancier move. Vegas, while its chances have been limited, has made the most of them.

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On top of that, Seguin said teams enjoy entering opponents’ buildings and playing the villain. The Golden Knights will play their first home playoff game since they hoisted the Stanley Cup in Game 5 of the finals last year. They’re entering on a high with a 2-0 series lead. Dallas hopes it can spoil that.

“Sometimes when you get booed, it gets you going,” Seguin said. “I didn’t really enjoy our fans booing Mark Stone. That gets you going. When I used to get booed in Winnipeg for whatever reason, I would have my best nights.”

From knocking off the defending champions to crawling back into the series, there’s all sorts of motivation for the Stars in Saturday’s game. To earn their first playoff win, they’ll have to play to their strengths, and road games just happen to be one of them.

While it seems like a quickly fading dream down 0-2, they’ll hope Games 3 and 4 could be a start to having their road record engraved in their championship rings, too, in a matter of months.

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“Hockey’s hard. But for the season we had, I feel like we deserve better than this,” Seguin said. “It’s not looking for empathy or sympathy. It’s dig down, find something, all of us, we’ve got to figure out a way because we earned the right.

“We’ve prided ourselves all year on how we respond, how we don’t lose many games in a row, so we’ll start with one.”

On X/Twitter: @Lassimak

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Find more Stars coverage from The Dallas Morning News here.

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