The Dallas Stars are three games away from the Stanley Cup Final.
Thanks to a stalwart performance from goalie Anton Khudobin and John Klingberg's first-period goal, the Stars beat the Vegas Golden Knights 1-0 in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final on Sunday night in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
The teams finished even in shots (25 apiece), nearly identical in hits (49-47 advantage to Dallas) and tight in blocked shots (18-15 in favor of Vegas). Very little separated them, setting up what looks to be yet another even, drawn-out series in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Anton Khudobin, DAL: 25 saves on 25 shots
Marc-Andre Fleury, VGK: 24 saves on 25 shots
John Klingberg, DAL: One goal
William Carrier, VGK: Six hits
Jamie Benn, DAL: One assist
Reilly Smith, VGK: Three shots
Radek Faksa, DAL: One assist
Anton Khudobin and the Dallas Defense Stymied Vegas
Stifling the Golden Knights is no small feat, but Khudobin and the blueliners in front of them were more than up to the task.
For Khudobin, it was a career night, as he posted his first playoff shutout. He had a rocky series against the Colorado Avalanche, giving up three or more goals six times in the series.
Nathan MacKinnon and Colorado gave him all he could handle. It's an excellent sign for Dallas that he started the Western Conference Final in pristine form and that the defense in front of him made life incredibly difficult for Vegas.
Golden Knights Need More from Mark Stone and the Team's Top Players
The Golden Knights generally swarm an opposing team's net, peppering in shots. But Dallas did a fantastic job of generally containing players like Reilly Smith, Jonathan Marchessault, Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone.
It's unlikely they'll be fully contained across a full seven-game series, but it was also unlikely they'd be shut out at all. It was just the second time since the NHL restart that the Golden Knights have been held goalless.
The concern, of course, is that the Golden Knights have been held scoreless in two of their past three games and have just four goals in their last four contests. The offense came alive against the Vancouver Canucks in Game 7. It's time for players like Stone and his top-line counterparts to get it going again.
Game 2 is scheduled for Tuesday night at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN.