The Stars weren’t the favorites going into this series, but then they weren’t the favorites going against Colorado either and that didn’t stop them. It hasn’t stopped them against Vegas either.
Dallas beat the Golden Knights on Saturday to take a 3-1 series lead. As has become the standard in this series, it was a low-scoring affair. I’d say it was a goaltending battle, but Anton Khudobin was clearly the better netminder in this game. Vegas outshot Dallas in every period, especially in the first frame when the difference was 13-5. Khudobin stayed strong, allowing just a single power-play goal throughout the entire contest to push the Stars to victory. With the way he has been playing, he’d almost certainly remain in net even if Ben Bishop becomes available.
Speaking of Stars players who are unfit to play though, Dallas lost another player during this contest. Roope Hintz missed the entire second period and only participated in one shift in the third period. Stars coach Rick Bowness said he’d provide an update on Sunday. Along with Bishop, Taylor Fedun, Stephen Johns, and Radek Faksa were unfit to play for the Stars in Game 4. The Stars have had to test their depth.
Regardless, Dallas now has three chances to advance to the Stanley Cup Final. The last time Dallas was in the finals was 2000 when the team was led by Mike Modano, Brett Hull, Sergei Zubov, Joe Nieuwendyk, and Ed Belfour. Like the current Stars, that team wasn’t anything special offensively for its time, but excelled defensively. Perhaps history is repeating.
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DALLAS 2 VEGAS 1 (Stars lead series 3-1)
Alec Martinez scored the Golden Knights’ lone goal. It was his second marker and eighth point in 19 postseason contests.
Jamie Benn scored the game-winning goal. That gives him seven goals and 17 points in 20 postseason games.
Joe Pavelski also found the back of the net for Dallas. He has nine goals and 14 points in 20 playoff games.
Robin Lehner stopped 18 of 20 Stars shots. He is 9-6 with a 1.93 GAA and .919 save percentage in 15 postseason contests.
At the other end of the ice, Anton Khudobin saved 32 of 33 shots. He improved to 11-6 with a 2.67 GAA and .918 save percentage in 18 playoff games.