The Stars have proven they are great with adversity. Now, can they show they are just as good with success?

After overcoming an 0-2 hole in the First Round against the Vegas Golden Knights and bouncing back from a disappointing Game 1 loss against Colorado, the lads in Victory Green cruise into American Airlines Center Wednesday night with a chance to close out their Second Round series against the Avalanche in five games. That’s a special kind of pressure, and one that coach Pete DeBoer understands very well.

DeBoer has gone 8-0 in playoff Game 7’s, and was asked Tuesday if this game could have a “Game 7 mentality.”

“We’ve talked about that,” DeBoer said. “One, we know it’s going to be the toughest game to win, and they’re going to be a really tough out, just because of who they are. There’s a lot of Stanley Cup champions on that team. We know it’s going to be hard. At the same time, you only get so many of these elimination game opportunities and you want to take advantage of them.”

DeBoer on series lead, play of Stankoven & Johnston

Dallas took a 3-2 series lead on Vegas and then lost Game 6 on the road. The Stars had to come back home and clinch the series in Game 7. They have that option again, as they have three chances to win one game, but DeBoer said the team learned a lot last season after having to go seven games against Seattle in the second round.

“As you move forward through the playoff, rest is critical,” DeBoer said. “So if you can eliminate a team in five instead of going six or seven, that makes a big difference.”

The playoffs are usually a war of attrition, and this series is taking its toll on the Stars. Roope Hintz left Game 4 with what appears to be a hand or wrist injury and did not return. There is expected to be an update at morning skate before Game 5. Craig Smith left the game with a lower body injury, but returned later. Chris Tanev left late after a collision into the boards. His initial prognosis seems more positive.

“Some good signs,” DeBoer said. “I think Tanev looked like he was fine today when I saw him.”

The Stars have solid forward depth, as both Ty Dellandrea and Radek Faksa are healthy scratches right now, and each has already scored a game-winning goal in the playoffs. If Hintz can’t play, Dallas has substitutes ready to play, and they both understand pressure. Dellandrea was scratched the first two games against Vegas, but scored in Game 4. Faksa missed four games with injury, but came back to score the deciding goal in Game 7.

So everyone seems to understand the pressure.

“We know what we have to do. Everyone in our dressing room knows how to play the right way, and the right way is successful for us these whole playoffs,” said forward Jason Robertson. “And I think it's just contagious on our bench. I think one guy sees it, another guy sees it, and you just get rolling and rolling. And it's great to see, like I said, just how contagious it is whenever we do everything the right way. I mean, good things happen.”

Wyatt Johnston and Jason Robertson recap Dallas' Game 4 victory

So far in this series, the Stars have not trailed. They took a 3-0 lead in Game 1 and then lost in overtime. Since then, they have scored first, taken control and protected leads. It’s been a growing experience for the players.

“The last series was a grind, chasing the series the whole time, some pressure moments out there,” said forward Joe Pavelski. “So to be able to play with a lead, be able to stick to our game plan, don't open up things - those things definitely contribute to the position we're in. But there's a lot of little things that we're doing right to get there.”

Joe Pavelski speaks to the media after Game 4

And that is how DeBoer and his coaches define “the right way.” Dallas is playing detailed team defense, taking advantage of offensive opportunities and getting solid goaltending. That combined to win a few games. Is DeBoer surprised when his team plays as well as it did in Game 4’s 5-1 win?

“I’m not surprised anymore,” the coach said. “This journey started six or seven months ago and really from February on, I think our group has been dialed in and playing really good hockey. We’ve done it all year, so it shouldn’t surprise me.”

And now, the goal is to make it a little easier on themselves and hopefully get some rest. Vancouver and Edmonton are tied 2-2 in their own series, so that one will extend until at least Saturday. That could mean at least four days of rest for the Stars.

But they can’t think that way; they have to have a Game 7 mentality.

“We’re just feeling we did our job,” Pavelski said of winning two games in Denver. “We played good hockey all around, a lot of contributions. This is a really good group over there and they can get it going in a hurry, too. There's a lot of responsibility and a big job that's still out there to be done.”

Key Numbers

30.8 percent
The Stars and Avalanche are tied for second in power play success in the playoffs at 30.8 percent.

Dallas ranks second in playoff goals against per game at 2.27.

Dallas leads all teams with 234 blocked shots in 11 games this postseason.

He Said It

“Yeah, it's cool. I'm just trying to do my part and help chip in, whatever that may be.”

- Stars forward Wyatt Johnston, when told he joined Wayne Gretzky as the only players in NHL history under age 21 to score a power play goal and a shorthanded goal in a playoff game

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.

Mike Heika is a Senior Staff Writer for and has covered the Stars since 1994. Follow him on Twitter @MikeHeika.

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