Stars Score 4 to Stifle Bolts, and Win Game 1

 RecordGoaltenderGAA / SV%
Dallas Stars13-6-0Anton Khudobin1.00 / .972
Tampa Bay Lightning12-4-1Andrei Vasilevskiy3.16 / .842

TLDR: Despite Tampa’s dominant 3rd period, goals from Hanley, Oleksiak, Kiviranta, and Dickinson lift the Stars to a 4-1 win in Game 1. Khudobin makes 35 stops on 36 shots, and tally four on 20 shots.

Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Dallas Stars and the Tampa Bay Lightning meant two different things for two different teams. For the Stars, ultimate endgame for the quintessential underdogs, and their first Stanley Cup Final appearance since the 1999-2000 season. For Tampa, redemption for a team who set franchise and league-wide records last season, only to be swept by a team that has never won a playoff series. Both Dallas and the Bolts punched their ticket to the Cup Finals with overtime wins. Both teams boast depth, and see exquisite scoring from their defense, and both teams have Russian goaltenders in net.

Tampa Bay started their third line and Dallas, their top line. The Stars won both regular season meetings with the Bolts, with both victories coming in overtime. Early on, Dallas and Tampa got good looks, forcing Anton Khudobin and Andrei Vasilevskiy to make a tough save to keep it 0-0. Just five minutes and 40 seconds into the period, Joel Hanley scored off a perfect feed from Roope Hintz to make it 1-0, Stars.

Alexander Radulov threw a massive (and clean) hit on Luke Schenn, who labored skating back to the bench. Things got heated in front of the Dallas bench, and as a result, Pat Maroon and Jamie Oleksiak both went off for roughing, so play resumed as 4-on-4. Perhaps the open ice would serve Tampa well, but the score stayed 1-0, Dallas. The Lightning registered just their second shot on goal with 8:40 left in the period. With 7:28 left, the puck banked right off Roope Hintz’s skate, off Khudobin, and into the net. Yanni Gourde was credited with the game-tying goal.

Between both teams, 48 hits were thrown in the opening 20 minutes. The Stars narrowly outshot the Lightning in the first, 5-4, but the score remained tied heading into the second.

The first power play of the game went to Dallas as Blake Coleman went off for slashing just 69 seconds into the middle frame (nice). A shot off the post by the Stars ended up with a high-danger shorthanded opportunity by Tampa moments later. Dallas did not convert on the man-advantage, but they certainly should have. The Stars dominated play in Tampa’s defensive zone for the first nearly six minutes of the period. Blake Coleman went off for his second minor of the period as he was called for hooking, and thus Dallas got a second opportunity with the man-advantage. Even though the Stars didn’t convert on the power play, Jamie Oleksiak made it 2-1 to take back the lead at the 12:30 mark.

With just under four minutes left in the period, Khudobin was forced to make an extremely difficult save off a shot from Ryan McDonagh to keep his teams’ lead. With just 27 seconds left, Second Round Game 7 superstar Joel Kiviranta extended the Stars lead by two to make it 3-1.

Dallas led 3-1 through 40 minutes of play.

At the expiration of the 2nd period, Pat Maroon was assessed a 10-minute game misconduct for shooting the puck at the Stars bench, hitting Kiviranta.

Down by two, the Lightning started the third period with fire and fury. The Stars had done an exceptional job at holding off Tampa’s defense for much of the game, but Tampa was outshooting Dallas 7-0 just five minutes in. The Bolts received their first power play at the 4:52 mark as John Klingberg was called for hooking. The Stars penalty kill kept the score 3-1. With 10:52 left, Blake Comeau went off for delay-of-game as he shot the puck clear over the glass, and so the Bolts earned their 2nd power play of the third period. Dallas killed off the penalty, but Tampa maintained offensive pressure until Khudobin could stop play with an insane save. Tyler Seguin was then called for tripping with just over seven minutes left, but Tampa again failed to convert. Roope Hintz blocked a whistler of a shot just prior to the expiration of the penalty and needed assistance to the bench. With 4:33 remaining, Tampa was outshooting Dallas 16-1. Bolts bench boss Jon Cooper has never been one to stray away from pulling his goaltender for an extra attacker, and with his team down by two, he did just that. Jason Dickinson potted an empty-net goal to seal the win for his team with 78 seconds left in the match. Despite Tampa Bay dominating the third period, Anton Khudobin and his Dallas Stars would take Game 1 by a score of 4-1. Khudobin allowed just one goal on 36 shots, and Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed four goals on 20 shots.

TXHT’s Three Takeaways of the Game

  1. Game 1 was extremely physical, but can these two teams keep at it all series long?
  2. The Dallas Defense may be the difference-maker in this series, just as they have been all playoffs.
  3. Tampa needs to play with the same emotion, but more discipline if they hope to take the series.

Below is the schedule for the Stanley Cup Final series between the Dallas Stars and the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Monday September 21, 2020 @ 8:00pm EST

Wednesday September 23, 2020 @ 8:00pm EST

Friday September 25, 2020 @ 8:00pm EST

Saturday September 26, 2020 @ 8:00pm EST

Monday September 28, 2020 @ 8:00pm EST

Wednesday September 30, 2020 @ 8:00pm EST

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