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National Hockey League
Dallas 4, Tampa Bay 1
When: 7:30 PM ET, Saturday, September 19, 2020
Where: Rogers Place, Edmonton, Alberta
Referees: Francis Charron, Wes McCauley
Linesmen: Brad Kovachik, Matt MacPherson
Attendance: N/A

Before the puck dropped on the Stanley Cup Final opener, both teams were shown the hallowed trophy up for grabs and Dallas Stars goaltender Anton Khudobin joked they should "just steal it and run."

If Khudobin provides a few more performances akin to his 35-save outing in Saturday's 4-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Edmonton, the NHL will be handing over Lord Stanley's mug.

Khudobin's outing included 22 stops in the third period alone, which kept the Lightning at bay and gave Dallas first blood in the series, with Game 2 Monday night in Edmonton.

"He's been a rock for us all playoffs," said forward Blake Comeau. "Tonight we got into a little bit of penalty trouble in the third (period) and he was there to bail us out. Every time we've needed a big save, at timely points in the game, he's been there for us."

Second-period goals by Jamie Oleksiak and Joel Kiviranta broke open a tied game and ensured Khudobin's performance did not go to waste.

With the score even at 1-1 shortly after the midway point, Oleksiak converted his own rebound for the eventual game winner -- the capper on a game in which he lost a tooth.

"Ate a little bit of elbow there. Is what it is. Part of the game," he said.

In the game of inches, Kiviranta's marker with 27.4 seconds remaining in the middle frame came within a minute of Tampa Bay's Brayden Point deflecting a shot off the crossbar that would have tied the clash. Kiviranta has scored five goals in the last seven games.

"I don't know what's going on," the rookie said. "Sometimes it starts to feel like wherever you shoot the puck, it goes in. Right now, I'm in that moment."

The Lightning, who failed to convert on three power play chances in the third period and haven't netted a man-advantage marker in the last four outings, were outplayed through the first two periods.

The cause could be fatigue, having clinched the Eastern Conference Final two days earlier while the Stars received some much-needed rest after clinching their series on Monday, but they were having none of that explanation.

"We had to do a lot more than just what we did in the third period," coach Jon Cooper said. "I don't even know if you can take a shower after the first two periods."

"They were right on top of us," said Lightning forward Yanni Gourde. "They were on top of us right from the get go."

So, expect the task of keeping the Lightning in check to be that much harder next outing. That's what Stars coach Rick Bowness will be telling his troops.

"All that matters is the next game," said Bowness, whose team has won four straight games and six of seven outings. "All you can afford to think about is what's coming next."

The clubs traded first-period goals to get the series off and running, albeit in a frame that totaled nine shots on goal.

Dallas defenseman Joel Hanley scored his first ever NHL goal to open the scoring at 5:40, converting from the slot for his first goal in any league since April 10, 2019, while he was in the minors.

Gourde replied for the Lightning with a lucky goal. Khudobin stopped Blake Coleman's point shot, but the puck ricocheted off Gourde's foot then Roope Hintz's skate and bounded into the net at 12:32. It's the sixth consecutive game the Lightning surrendered the first goal yet replied to tie the game. Tampa has won three of those games.

Jason Dickinson's empty netter with 78 seconds remaining, his first goal of the playoffs, rounded out the scoring.

Andrei Vasilevskiy made 16 saves for the Lightning.

--Field Level Media

Top Game Performances
 
Dallas   Tampa Bay
Jason Dickinson 1 Points Yanni Gourde 1
Jason Dickinson 1 Goals Yanni Gourde 1
Blake Comeau 1 Assists Blake Coleman 1
N/A Power Play Goals N/A
N/A Short Handed Goals N/A
Anton Khudobin .972 Save Percentage Andrei Vasilevskiy .842
Anton Khudobin 35 Saves Andrei Vasilevskiy 16
Team Stats Summary
 
Team Shots Goals Power Play Penalty Kill Penalty Mins Face Offs Won
Dallas 20 4 0-2 3-3 8 24
Tampa Bay 36 1 0-3 2-2 16 23
Upcoming Games
  • Tampa Bay will play their next game at home against Dallas. The Lightning have a W/L % of .605 after a win and .630 after a loss.
  • Dallas will play their next game on the road against Tampa Bay. The Stars have a W/L % of .605 after a win and .452 after a loss.