LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The target couldn’t be much bigger on the Golden Knights’ backs as the Dallas Stars roll into town.

It’s the teams’ first meeting of the season, and it’s a big game. The Knights lead the Pacific Division, but they have slipped to second in the Western Conference, a point behind the Winnipeg Jets. The Stars are just a point behind the Knights. A win would vault the Stars into a first-place tie with the Jets.

And if that’s not enough motivation for the Stars, coach Peter DeBoer might be able to find another reason for his team to play hard.

It’s DeBoer’s first trip back to T-Mobile Arena since the Knights fired him at the end of last season. The Knights were on the outside looking in as last season ended, falling short of a late run for a playoff spot. It’s the only season in the Knights’ existence that they missed the playoffs.

Knights coach Bruce Cassidy and DeBoer have both found success with their new teams this year. They will both be coaching in this year’s NHL All-Star game.

And while the injuries haven’t reached the level from last year, the Knights have a lot of key pieces out on Monday. Mark Stone is week-to-week with an upper-body injury, and defensemen Shea Theodore and Zach Whitecloud are still out. Now, forward William Carrier is out, missing practice after Saturday night’s loss to the Edmonton Oilers.

The lineup is still solid — but unsettled. Lineup changes while forwards Jack Eichel, Jonathan Marchessault and Paul Cotter were injured have left the top lines in flux. Stone’s absence could expose weaknesses.

Dallas Stars at Golden Knights

  • Faceoff: 3 p.m. Monday, T-Mobile Arena.
  • TV/Radio: AT&T Sportsnet/KKGK, 1340 AM, 98.9 FM
  • Records: Stars 25-12-7; Knights 28-14-2.
  • Notes: The Knights are 2-2-0 after four games of a seven-game homestand. They will be wearing their reverse retro jerseys. The Knights remain two points ahead of the Seattle Kraken and the Los Angeles Kings in the Pacific Division. The Stars have lost two straight, but have a lot of firepower as their second line has stepped up this year.