A Goalie Named Dobby, a Finnish Takeover and a Playoff Run to Remember

At the Daniel Ninth Grade Campus, English teacher Kendall Sifuentes wears a Dallas Stars sweatshirt Sept. 15 following the Stars victory in the Western Conference Finals.

James Ward

At the Daniel Ninth Grade Campus, English teacher Kendall Sifuentes wears a Dallas Stars sweatshirt Sept. 15 following the Stars victory in the Western Conference Finals.

The Dallas Stars are officially back in the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since the 1999-2000 season when they lost in game six against the New Jersey Devils.

After a shortened regular season, the NHL came back on Aug. 1 with a “round robin.” Each conference played for the playoff seeding. The Dallas Stars finished with a 2-1 shootout win over the St. Louis Blues to take the third seed in the Western Conference.

Dallas was forced to play their second string goalie Anton Khudobin throughout the playoffs because Ben Bishop was deemed unfit to play.

Right now, Bish is unfit to play, and we’re leaving it at that,” Coach Rich Bowness said

Khudobin became a fan favorite as he led the team with his goaltending and winning personality. On Khudobin’s goalie helmet is the Dallas skyline and a picture of Dobby from the Harry Potter series. As Dallas fans soon found out, Khudobin’s nickname is Dobby and his goaltending has been magical.

After the round robin, Dallas went into the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Calgary Flames. In the first game, Dallas lost 3-2, but came back in the second game with a 5-4 win. In game three, Calgary took the series back winning 2-0. At this point, criticism towards the Dallas front line became a talking point in the media, but not for long. In a 5-4 overtime win, Dallas tied the series and won out to advance to the second round.

The second round started as a rout with the Stars winning the first three out of four games, but it would soon become a nightmare. Dallas went on a two game losing streak in what seemed like a miracle comeback series for the Avalanche. Game seven looked like the second year in a row the Stars would get eliminated in the second round of the playoffs, but then a Finnish take over happened.

A little known rookie forward named Joel Kiviranta came in and scored two goals to tie up the game at the end of regulation to send the game into overtime. Kiviranta would score the game winner, and it was his first career hat trick. He became the first person to score a hat trick in a game seven playoff game since Wayne “The Great One” Gretzky.

In the third round of the playoffs the Stars faced the Las Vegas Golden Knights who made the playoffs every season of their three year existence. Dallas came out like they did in the regular season and played a hard fought defensive game in their 1-0 game one victory.

The Golden Knights tied the series in a 3-0 victory in game two. In game three the game went back and forth until at the end of regulation there was a score of 2-2. In the first thirty seconds of overtime, Alexander Radulov scored the game winner.

In game four, both teams started slow until the second period when the Golden Knights scored the first goal of the game. Dallas would fire back and score two to take a 3-1 lead in the series.

The Dallas Stars had a chance to end the series in game five to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals. The Stars fell apart letting in a goal in the first period and another at the start of the third. The Stars went on to rally and score two goals in the last 10 minutes to send the game into overtime. 

Then Vegas defenseman Zach Whitecloud was called for a delay of game penalty 2:15 into overtime for clearing the puck over the boards. On the late powerplay, the Stars’ second string penalty unit and winger Denis Gurianov scored the game winner.

The Dallas Stars are officially Western Conference champions and are back in the Stanley Cup 20 years since their last visit. Their opponent is to be determined from the Tampa Bay versus New York series. Currently Tampa Bay leads 3-1 in the series.

The Stars have their goalie Dobby to thank. He has been the light Dallas needed and stopped over 500 shots on goal. Although analysts are projecting defender Miro Haskienan as the playoff MVP, Dobby should at least be considered. 

 “We always know it might take the whole game with us,” forward Tyler Seguin said. “We’re a confident group coming back in games. There’s no panic. Everything is falling in our favor right now.”