The Dallas Stars defeated the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals on Sep. 6. Both teams eliminated their previous opponents in seven games during the second round. The Stars defeated the Colorado Avalanche and the Golden Knights defeated the Vancouver Canucks. Here is the recap of Game 1 between the Stars and Golden Knights.
Both teams are coming off an intense seven games series against their respective opponents. However, it would be the Stars that scored the game’s only goal. Stars defenseman John Klingberg shot the goal. From there, the Stars never looked back and pressurized the Golden Knights defensively and prevented them from generating quality offense. For the first time in a while, the Golden Knights were outshot in one period. They were outshot 11-8.
Dallas went into the second period with a 1-0 lead.
No goals were scored but the Stars continued to sustain offensive pressure putting the Golden Knights on their heels defensively. The Golden Knights practically didn’t have any momentum going for them, something that hasn’t happened to them in a long time. Also, the Golden Knights found themselves turning the puck over which led to the Stars getting great scoring chances. This game was all about the Stars to this point.
Dallas went into the third period still with a 1-0 lead.
The Golden Knights wouldn’t go down without a fight despite being outplayed by the Stars to this point of the game. This was the only period in which the Golden Knights were able to generate a good amount of shots on goal. They outshot the Stars 13-2. The Golden Knights also had momentum going for them for the first time this game. However, the Golden Knights weren’t able to find the tying goal despite finding their game this period.
Dallas won the game 1-0 and took the series lead 1-0.
Three Stars of the Game
Third Star: Marc-Andre Fleury (24 saves)
Second Star: John Klingberg (1 goal)
First Star: Anton Khudobin (25 saves)
Dallas came off a seven game series against Colorado but this was by far their most impressive game this postseason. To hold a team like Vegas to 25 shots is something no team had done during these playoffs. They also dictated the pace and tone of the game by establishing their physicality early on. Dallas goaltender Anton Khudobin continues to be impressive in net getting a shutout against a team that generates just around 40 shots on goal per game.
However, they let their game get away from them in the third period giving Vegas a chance to get back into the game. Though, Dallas was able to hold onto their lead. This win may have been their most imposing win but they can’t allow Vegas to have some life moving forward in this series.
Vegas Golden Knights
This was a tale of two different games despite having only faced Dallas once this series. Vegas didn’t seem like they were at the game just by their performance alone. Though, they did show up during the third period when they outshot Dallas 13-2. By far, this was Vegas’ worst game this postseason. This game was probably worse than Games 5 and 6 combined from the Canucks series.
Offensively, they couldn’t find ways to generate second or third chances let alone get a shot on goal within the first two periods. There wasn’t any net front presence in front of Khudobin and it seemed like this was another case of how Vegas is going to score in this game. Net front presence was something that this team had talked about several times. Also, their power play needs to be consistent and they have to find ways to switch up the way they run it.
Defensively, they were there sort of. They had 47 hits and blocked 18 Dallas shots but they gave up way too many scoring chances. Luckily, Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury didn’t allow any more goals after Klingberg’s goal. Vegas forward Ryan Reaves didn’t play this game due to being suspended from his hit on Canucks forward Tyler Motte. But, that shouldn’t be an excuse as to why Vegas didn’t establish their physicality and defensive game early in this game.
Vegas also has been in this situation before. They were down 1-0 against the Winnipeg Jets in the Western Conference Finals in 2018. And, Vegas won the next four games beating the Jets in five games. Regardless, they have to be better moving forward this series.
Game 2 of the Stars-Golden Knights series is on Sep. 8 at 8:00 p.m. EST on NBCSN.