Wednesday "Knight" wisdom about the Western Conference Finals

The Western Conference Finals begin on Thursday, with the Vegas Golden Knights watching. Let's take a time machine back to last season when they were there.
Vegas Golden Knights v Dallas Stars - Game Seven
Vegas Golden Knights v Dallas Stars - Game Seven / Cooper Neill/GettyImages
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Last season, the Dallas Stars met the Vegas Golden Knights in the Western Conference Finals. Vegas got off to a 3-0 start, eventually defeating Dallas in six games. Everyone knows what happened after that, with celebrations and a big parade happening on Las Vegas Boulevard. Promises were fulfilled and Nevada was on top of the world, celebrating their team's hard-earned Stanley Cup victory.

Fast forward a year later and those same Golden Knights aren't back in the Western Conference Finals. They've already been eliminated, spending their offseason doing other activities. The offender? Those same Dallas Stars, who rode Jake Oettinger's hot streak to eliminate the defending champions in seven games. It's essentially the "Circle of Life," where one team gets their revenge on their previous assailant.

Now, the Stars face off against Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers, who want to bring Canada their first Stanley Cup in over three decades. For hockey fans, this should be a no-brainer regarding who to root for. The darlings of ESPN get all the love, with McDavid and Leon Draisaitl getting a chunk of the hockey coverage. So why not pull for Pete DeBoer and Dallas to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals?

After all, Pete DeBoer has never won a Stanley Cup in his head coaching career. The former Vegas Golden Knights head coach is making his seventh semifinal appearance in his career, with only two leading to a Stanley Cup Finals appearance. Why not root for the current Dallas Stars head coach to finally go all the way?

But that's not the only thing going on in the NHL. There's another semifinals matchup that has some intrigue among hockey fans. In fact, there's some newsworthy stuff happening around hockey that fans should notice. Let's get off the couch and see what's going on around the NHL.

The Eastern Conference Finals matchup between Florida and New York

The last four teams in the Stanley Cup playoffs haven't won the prestigious trophy in 25 years. In fact, one of those teams hasn't won the trophy ever, with only two championship appearances to show for their work. That team is the Florida Panthers, who's on the cusp of defending their Eastern Conference crown.

Their opponent? The President's Trophy winners, the New York Rangers. The "Blue Crew" have been newsworthy themselves, with jawdropping offensive weapons like Artemi Panarin and Chris Kreider leading the way. Add in some Matt Rempe fights and you have a team that has steamrolled the competition (8-2 in the playoffs this season).

There's no doubt the Rangers will provide a brutal test for the Florida Panthers. However, there's good reason to believe that the rat-flinging franchise has a chance. That starts with Matthew Tkachuk, who's been a tough matchup for every team he's faced. Tkachuk (10 assists, 14 points this postseason) is picking up where he left off, with last postseason's performance (11 goals, 13 assists in last year's playoffs), leading Florida to greater places. But could that lead to winning the Stanley Cup? Stay tuned.