Lightning wake up late, Khudobin puts them to bed: Takeaways from Stanley Cup Final Game 1
- Greg Wyshynski is ESPN’s senior NHL writer.
Game 1 of the 2020 Stanley Cup Final was a wonderful site for Dallas Stars fans, as their team took a 1-0 lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning on goals from Joel Hanley, Jamie Oleksiak, Joel Kiviranta and Jason Dickinson; the lone goal for the Lightning came from Yanni Gourde.
In case you missed part or all of the game, we’re here with the biggest takeaways as we look ahead to Game 2 on Monday night.
More: Click here for the entire Stanley Cup Final schedule.
Stanley Cup Final Game 1 in 10 words or less
Tampa wakes up late, Khudobin puts them to bed.
Player of the game: Anton Khudobin, G, Dallas Stars
His teammate Tyler Seguin likened Khudobin’s play to that of former Boston Bruins playoff MVP Tim Thomas, and Game 1 had echoes of those clutch performances. He made 35 saves — including an incredible 22 of them in the third period — to shut the door on the Lightning, outside of a double-doink skate deflection goal in the first period. He now has a .959 save percentage in his last four games. The deeper these playoffs go, the better he’s getting. That’s scary for Tampa.
What worked for Dallas?
If there was a recipe for a Game 1 win for Dallas, they followed it to the ounce. They played Tampa even in the first period, showing they had a little more jump. They built a two-goal lead in the second period. Then they turned the game over to Khudobin in the third, and he was brilliant. The Stars are playing with a confidence and purpose that the Lightning are going to have to fracture to win this series.
What didn’t work for Tampa Bay?
For two periods, the Lightning looked like a team coming off nine periods of hockey in two games against the New York Islanders. Dallas carried the play in the first period, got the better of it for most of the second period and then the Lightning trailed by two goals by the time they found their game in a dominant third period. But the Stars are now 9-1 when leading after two periods for a reason: They bend like a contortionist, but don’t break.
Dallas 1-0: Joel Hanley (Roope Hintz) 5:40, first period
The Stars were targeting Tampa center Brayden Point, who’s been limited by injury, and unfortunately the Lightning were ready to retaliate. So when Joel Kiviranta hit Point from behind — the refs let it go because Point turned to protect the puck — Lightning defenseman Zach Bogosian abandoned his post to stick up for Point. That led to an open pocket opening in the slot for Hanley to score his first postseason goal over a crouching Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Tied 1-1: Yanni Gourde (Blake Coleman, Barclay Goodrow) 12:32, first period
The kind of goal that Tampa is going to have to score against Anton Khudobin this series. Gourde deflects the puck off his skate and then off the skate of Hintz into the net. Gourde entered the game with the third most high-danger shot attempts on the Lightning (25), so this is exactly where you’d expect him to be.
Dallas 2-1: Jamie Oleksiak (Alexander Radulov, Miro Heiskanen) 12:30, second period
Two great plays by Dallas here, as Radulov collects the puck on the forecheck and Oleksiak stays with the play to put in his own rebound. For the second straight goal against, the Lightning had a player out of position; Nikita Kucherov was floating through the neutral zone in some sort of purgatory between a line change and active defense, which helped create the scoring chance for Dallas.
Dallas 3-1: Joel Kiviranta (Esa Lindell, John Klingberg) 19:32, second period
One of the softest goals Vasilevskiy has surrendered in the postseason. He was thrown off when Mikhail Sergachev blocked the initial shot, as Kiviranta collected the rebound and fired it through the goalie. That came after Brayden Point rung a puck off the crossbar behind Khudobin. It was that kind of period for Tampa Bay.
Dallas 4-1: Jason Dickinson (Blake Comeau, Mattias Janmark) 18:42, third period
On only their second shot of the third period (!), Dickinson put the game away with an empty netter.
Bad agitation by Patrick Maroon
Maroon was trying to play the role of agitator against the Stars, roughing it up after the whistle and earning a 10-minute misconduct at the end of the second period for intentionally firing the puck into the Dallas bench. The Stars have seen Ryan Reaves. They’ve played against Ryan Reaves. You, sir, are no Ryan Reaves.
The big question for Game 2
Are we going to see Steven Stamkos? The Lightning captain is skating. And his teammates could certainly use the offensive boost.
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