As the final horn sounded Monday at Ball Arena and the Stars celebrated a commanding 3-1 series lead in front of a lingering Colorado crowd, a few refreshing and familiar themes surfaced.

Dallas had swept a two-game set on the road for the second straight series. Wyatt Johnston had put together another instant classic performance to lead the charge. The Stars had once again shut down Colorado’s top players in an impressive third period defensive effort. And for the second straight series, Dallas was the first team to three wins and was heading home with a chance to advance.

In these situations, it can be easy to get lost in what could lie ahead. But before you do, it might be a good idea to look back on all that’s helped them to this point.

Let’s rewind 20 days. To the everyday person, it wasn’t long ago. To the Stars community, however, it might feel like a lifetime.

Dallas had just dropped the first two games of the First Round series against Vegas. After scratching and clawing their way to the top seed in the Western Conference, they had squandered home ice advantage and were staring down their second 0-2 series hole against the Golden Knights in 11 months.

While it’s a race to four, things looked grim. And how couldn’t they? After falling two wins short of the Stanley Cup Final last year and generating a “this could finally be the year” feeling during the 2023-24 season, it all seemed to wither in a span of 120 minutes.

In NHL history, teams down 0-2 in a best-of-seven playoff series were a combined 55-351. The Stars were 1-14 in franchise history, including an 0-9 mark during their time in Dallas.

But, as we came to find out, it wasn’t a death note. The Stars put together a ferocious rally, won three straight games (including two on the road) and rallied behind a frenetic home crowd in Game 7 to oust the defending Cup champs.

It was a historic display of perseverance and an unrelenting commitment to success, and felt like it should be properly celebrated.

And 48 short hours later, it was in the past. The Stars quickly dove into a Second Round series against a well-rested Colorado Avalanche team. Another round facing off with a recent Cup winner, and another round that the Stars opened from behind. After sprinting out to a 3-0 lead in Game 1, Dallas gave up four unanswered goals in an overtime loss to take the first loss of the series.

It could have easily been another unraveling point for most teams. Riding an emotional high is fun, but can be catastrophic when not handled properly.

But the Stars persevered. They rallied from another potential meltdown scenario and have since rattled off three straight multi-goal wins. The hot streak has them heading home on the brink of a trip to the Western Conference Final for the second straight year.

Perhaps it shouldn’t surprise us that the team with 26 comeback wins this season (T-2nd most in the NHL) continues to rally so seamlessly. The Stars made it a habit to bounce back with ease throughout the regular season.

They turned a -3 first period goal differential before the All-Star Break into a +13 by the end of the year. In 164 games under Pete DeBoer, they have yet to lose three straight games in regulation. Heck, they became the first team in NHL history to win a game in regulation when trailing with 15 seconds to go just before Christmas in Nashville.

In the 2023 playoffs, they were down 1-0 and 2-1 in each of the first two rounds and ended up winning both.

So yeah, this team knows how to efficiently find its way out of any bind. But the Avalanche also had 26 comeback wins this year. Surely they’ve left their own resilient stamp on the series so far, right?

Not so much. In the 251:03 of total play, the Stars have led for 159:22. That’s roughly 63.5% of the series. The Avalanche, on the other hand, have yet to register a lead through four games. To add some perspective, Dallas led for 113:29 and trailed for 100:55 in their seven-game series with Vegas.

“The last series was a grind,” Stars forward Joe Pavelski said. “Sometimes we were behind and chasing the series. There were some pressure moments out there. In this one, to play with a lead, stick to our game plan, and don’t open up things definitely contribute to the position we’re in. But there’s a lot of little things we’re doing right to get there.”

Joe Pavelski speaks to the media after Game 4

They’ve also doubled down on their title as the League’s best road team.

In the past two games in Denver, Dallas has outscored the NHL’s best home team by a score of 9-2. They’ve neutralized the top offensive attack in the 2024 postseason and kept Colorado’s top scorers from becoming difference-makers. That includes giving up zero goals in the third period and not allowing a power play goal while also scoring two shorthanded goals.

“We’ve been the best team on the road all year,” Stars coach Pete DeBoer said after Game 4. “Regardless of the building or the lineup for the other team and who’s in and out, we approach the game the same way. We took care of business, and I thought that showed in the first period. I thought our guys were dialed in all night.”

Pete DeBoer on being dialed in, Johnston's performance

When asked about what has contributed to this team’s unrelenting resilience, Pavelski had a relatively simple answer.

“We’re just playing,” he said. “This is a great time of year to be playing. You’ve always got a thought of how you’re playing. Throughout a lot of this playoffs so far, we’ve played a lot of good hockey and put ourselves in some good positions. We’ve gotten some timely saves and goals and those types of things. But it’s just a commitment to doing it the right way. That’s number one for us.”

To conquer demons of the past while in an 0-2 hole against the defending champs in the opening round is nothing short of impressive. To follow it up with another surge against another recent champion in the following round? That’s a storyline reserved for the elites.

And now, they have a chance to put the finishing touches on another heroic series effort.

“It’s good, but we also know the final one is always the toughest to win and we also know the opponent,” DeBoer said on Monday night. “There’s no doubt with what went on behind the scenes with them tonight, they were a little bit off and rattled, and rightfully so. I’m sure they’ll regroup and not go down quietly. We’re going to anticipate that the next game is going to be the toughest to win.”

“After losing Game 1, we’re in the best spot we could be winning three straight [games],” added Johnston. “We know they’re going to come out really hard next game. I think it’s so important to be able to close it out.”

Wyatt Johnston and Jason Robertson recap Dallas' Game 4 victory

Winning four in a row in the playoffs is a steep ask for any team, but the Stars seem to have the skill and swagger needed to accomplish anything right now. Whether it’s coming back from seemingly insurmountable odds or forcing the NHL’s top offense to chase the entire series, they find a way to get it done.

And that is a key calling card of a team destined to do great things.

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

Josh Clark is a writer for DallasStars.com. Follow him on Twitter @Josh_Clark02.

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