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A Vegas win and the series is on the brink with the Golden Knights a game away from advancing. A Dallas victory and the Stars have new life.

The next game in a series is always the most important and Game 3 in this best-of-seven between the Golden Knights and Stars is no different.

Vegas slipped into Texas with the entire hockey world wondering if they weren’t already on one knee. They left with two wins in their satchel and experts abound hitting the delete key on their predictions.

Dallas had earned home ice with a 52-win regular season which captured the Western Conference top seed. The Stars were favored and just about everyone outside of Vegas had Dallas winning the series.

Vegas limped through the second half of the regular season and were a deserving underdog.

The return of captain Mark Stone, banger Will Carrier and top-pair defenseman Alex Pietrangelo plus the deadline addition of forwards Tomas Hertl and Anthony Mantha as well as blueliner Noah Hanifin made the Golden Knights a bit of an unknown.

Vegas was unpredictable. Would the playoffs look like the regular season? What level of game could and would they produce? The answer so far is that of a contender.

VGK head coach Bruce Cassidy is happy his team is up 2-0 in the series but says the difference in the games has been razor thin and nothing is even close to being decided.

“The next game is just one game. You could be down 2-1 or up 3-0 and then Game 4 could change the series. If you get too far ahead of yourself, you can get yourself in trouble. We did what we had to do in Dallas. We grew our game and we won. That’s the positive for us,” said Cassidy. “Was there a dominant team in either one of those games? I don’t think so. We made some plays when we needed to. Timely goals and timely saves. We had a bit of an edge there. That’s it. We need to get better. The timely goal or save may go their way. They may get a bounce.”

The Stars fell behind Vegas 3-0 in last spring’s Western Conference Final before eventually succumbing by a 4-2 series margin. Stars head coach Pete DeBoer says his team needs to find a way to get one win and then worry about what happens next.

“We’re a confident group. We’re obviously not in a great spot. We’re a veteran group. Win one game and things change. Pressure points change, attitudes change. So that’s our focus,” said DeBoer.

DeBoer says forwards Mason Marchment and Radek Faska are ‘progressing,’ and he listed them as day-to-day.

On the Vegas side, Bruce Cassidy termed defensemen Nic Hague as day-to-day but did rule him out for Saturday’s Game 3.