Anton Khudobin, John Klingberg Power Stars to Game 1 Win over Golden Knights

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistSeptember 7, 2020

Dallas Stars goaltender Anton Khudobin, of Kazakhstan, takes a drink in the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Nashville Predators Thursday, March 5, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

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.


When @johnklingberg rips it, good things happen. #StanleyCup 🇺🇸: https://t.co/UfgC6MEihV @NHLonNBCSports 🇨🇦: https://t.co/ujaIEh4p5C @Sportsnet https://t.co/PYfhJWnyo8

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.


Key Stats

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.


Anton Khudobin made 25 saves as the @DallasStars took a 1-0 decision from Vegas in Game 1 tonight. It was Khudobin's first shutout in a postseason game since the 2009 #CalderCup Playoffs with Houston. #AHLGrads https://t.co/EhnTKMaa7u

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.

Jeff Paterson @patersonjeff

last 7 #Vegasborn games: Mark Stone & William Karlsson 1 goal each Reilly Smith & Jonathan Marchessault 0 goals

Justin Emerson @J15Emerson

Mark Stone and William Karlsson each had only one shot attempt tonight

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.


What's Next?

Game 2 is scheduled for Tuesday night at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN.