from Jesse Granger and Saad Yousuf of The Athletic,
When the puck drops for Game 1 of the Western Conference finals between Vegas and Dallas on Friday night at T-Mobile Arena, Stars coach Pete DeBoer will find himself in an oddly familiar role as he takes his place on the visitors bench.
It wasn’t that long ago he stood behind the opposite bench in that arena, wearing a Golden Knights lapel. It also hasn’t been that long since he coached against Vegas in the playoffs.
DeBoer’s history with the Golden Knights is long and complicated.
It started as a rivalry in 2017, when the upstart Vegas franchise quickly emerged as an adversary for DeBoer’s Sharks atop the Pacific Division. San Jose was an aging but talented group looking for a title before its window closed. The Golden Knights came out of nowhere to win the series.
Playoff matchups in back-to-back seasons stoked that rivalry, culminating with a fiery seven-game series in 2019 in which DeBoer and then-Vegas coach Gerard Gallant traded verbal barbs that were nearly as fierce as the play on the ice. DeBoer came out on top in the most dramatic way possible, with San Jose erasing a three-goal deficit late in the third period to win in overtime.
Less than nine months later, DeBoer was coaching the Golden Knights.
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