Pete DeBoer is forging some impressive career playoff numbers.

In his second season in Dallas, he has made the Western Conference Final for the second time. Before that, he was in the WCF twice with Vegas before missing in an injury-plagued season with the Golden Knights.

As it is, he ranks tied for 10th all-time in playoff series wins with 17. That’s in the neighborhood of such coaching legends as Mike Keenan, Jon Cooper, Toe Blake and Darryl Sutter. He’s at 86 playoff wins, tied with former Stars coach Ken Hitchcock for 11th all-time. Wouldn’t it be nice if he could break that tie Thursday at American Airlines Center?

But DeBoer said he’s not focused on personal accomplishments. He’d rather set his thoughts on team goals. If the Stars can get past the Edmonton Oilers in this best-of-seven series, they would get to the Stanley Cup Final for just the sixth time in franchise history. And that would open the door for a group of veteran players who have yet to hoist the cherished chalice to make another run.

“What matters to me is, honestly, the journey when you get to go deep in the playoffs,” DeBoer said this week. “I obviously haven’t won the whole thing, but whether it’s a conference final or a [Stanley Cup] final, you galvanize with a group and a team and bunch of men together through that journey, because it’s so hard and it takes so much sacrifice, both personally and on the ice. That’s the juice that we coach for, and there’s nothing better.”

Pete DeBoer on the support from around the NHL

The Stars coaching staff has been feeling that juice this season. DeBoer and top assistant Steve Spott have known each other for three decades and have been chasing the Cup in San Jose, Vegas and now Dallas together. Defensive assistant Alain Nasreddine also hasn’t won the Cup. Assistant coach Misha Donskov won it last season with Vegas, but he shares the hunger as a longtime member of DeBoer’s staff.

Part of the irony of DeBoer’s career is that he is on his fifth NHL team and got fired by Vegas despite making it to the conference finals in two out of three seasons. That’s part of the difficulty of being a head coach in the NHL.

DeBoer was asked earlier in the playoffs about the revolving door of coaches and said, “It’s insanity. We coach in an age where everyone talks about the modern athlete, building relationships in order to coach them. How do you do that with that kind of turnover? It’s like going on a date and getting married and divorced before the appetizers show up. I don’t get it. But that’s the world we live in.”

And DeBoer is living pretty successfully. He has forged a fantastic relationship with Joe Pavelski, starting in San Jose and continuing in Dallas.

“He delivers a good message,” Pavelski said. “I think we’ve felt it all year, talking about it and talking about where we want to go. Especially kind of down the stretch, it was one to create Stanley Cup habits, play meaningful hockey and do it the right way.”

Joe Pavelski speaks to the media after practice

In a perfect world, DeBoer will be doing that for a long time in Dallas. He’s already racked up six rounds of playoffs in two seasons and added the team’s first division title since 2016. That’s the kind of consistency he strives for.

“Look around the League and you see franchises that celebrate a series win or two series wins to be in the final four,” DeBoer said when asked about his ability to rack up the best-of-seven accolades. “I know that many times is really a privilege. Just got to try and end up in the top spot one of these times.”

Key Numbers

Stars captain Jamie Benn has scored 24 goals among 42 points in 43 career regular season games against the Oilers. That is the most goals he has scored against any opponent.

Edmonton has scored first 10 times in 12 playoff games. That leads the NHL. Dallas has scored first eight times in 13 playoff games.

Edmonton has the second-most power play opportunities in the playoffs with 44 in 12 games. Dallas has 31 in 13 games played.

He Said It

“I haven’t won a Game 1 in my career, it’s been seven or eight series. I thought we had the chance to go up in the last series, to go up in Game 1. We played really well and then obviously blew that. We definitely want to have that same approach like we did against Colorado and get off to a good start and try to take the game over and obviously not blow it away. Hopefully, we get that done [Thursday].”

- Stars forward Jason Robertson on the fact Dallas has lost Game 1 in five straight series. The Stars won four of those series.

Johnston & Robertson on upcoming seires vs Edmonton

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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