The Stanley Cup Final got underway on Saturday night, and it took just over five minutes for a surprise scorer to emerge.
The Dallas Stars struck first, but the Tampa Bay Lightning were able to push back to tie the game after one, but a pair of goals late in the second set the tone for the Stars, as they were able to take Game 1 by a score of 4-1 thanks to some unlikely heroes and outstanding goaltending from Anton Khudobin.
Just 5:40 into Game 1, the Stars got on the board. Roope Hintz set up Joel Hanley in the slot for his first NHL goal, opening the scoring in the Stanley Cup Final.
The Lightning answered back at 12:32. A shot by Blake Coleman ricocheted off of Yanni Gourde’s skate and beat Khudobin to tie the game.
The teams played with the 1-1 tie past the halfway point of regulation, when the Stars finally got the icebreaker. Jamie Oleksiak attempted a shot cutting in from the blue line that was blocked by Luke Schenn, but stayed with it and got his own rebound and put it up over Andrei Vasilevskiy to make it 2-1 Dallas with 7:30 remaining in the second.
In the final minute of the second, the Stars got what felt like a back-breaking goal. Off a rush, Joel Kiviranta had his initial shot blocked, but quickly put the rebound toward the net and got it under the arm of Vasilevskiy with 27.4 seconds remaining to make it 3-1.
Dallas went into protection mode from there. The Lightning had three power plays and threw 22 shots at Khudobin in the third period, and he was up to the task on them all. Khudobin finished the game with 35 saves and the Stars iced it with an empty-net goal by Jason Dickinson to seal the 4-1 result and take a 1-0 lead in the series.
Vasilevskiy made 16 saves at the other end in the loss.
The series will continue on Monday night with Game 2 at 8 p.m.