EDMONTON | A victory for the Stars for this first game of the Stanley Cup Final was a logical choice. Rick Bowness' team had had four days off, compared to just one day off for the Lightning.
But it was madness to predict the identity of the four Stars scorers: Joel Hanley, Jamie Oleksiak, Joel Kiviranta and Jason Dickinson.
If there is a man who made this bet on earth, he is clearly richer this morning. However, we will not go in search of this oddball.
Led by their secondary players, the Stars signed a 4-1 victory in this first game of this grand final on Saturday at Rogers Place.
Logic will always remain an abstract phenomenon in this year 2020. Before this first game of the Stanley Cup Final, Hanley had never scored a goal in the NHL. There was still a zero in his goals column after 46 games in the season and 7 games in the playoffs. Yet it was he who opened the scoring in the first period.
Hanley, who made his NHL debut with the Canadiens for 17 games in 2015-16 and 2016-17, beat Andrei Vasilevskiy with a sharp shot into the top of the net. A beautiful goal. A goal he will cherish for the rest of his life.
The swimmer's brother
Another defenseman had his say in the Texas team win. One would have easily believed in Miro Heiskanen. But no. If the Finn played a strong game yet, he failed to beat Vasilevskiy.
Oleksiak continued his thunderous playoffs with a fifth goal in his 22nd game. The 6'7 '', 255lb giant had hit the target just three times in 69 games this year. For the record, it is always good to remember that he is the brother of Penny Oleksiak, winner of four swimming medals, including one in gold, at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero in 2016.
In pursuit of the improbable, Kiviranta got the Stars' third goal. Before the playoffs, the 24-year-old Finn had scored one goal in eleven games. In the playoffs, he scored a hat trick in Game 7 against the Avalanche and another goal in Game 5 of the Western Finals against the Golden Knights.
Kiviranta, acquired as a free agent after the World Championship in 2019, now has 5 goals in 9 playoff games. Dickinson completed the score in an empty net. It was his first goal of the playoffs in 22 games.
The Lightning has triumphed over the Blue Jackets, Bruins and Islanders since the start of the playoffs. Jon Cooper's team will face a different beast with the Stars.
The Stars don't have the most talented roster, but they have a knack for extinguishing their rivals by advocating a defensive, but also muscular style of play.
From the first minutes of the game, the Lightning had a good idea of the challenge ahead. In attacking territory, Kiviranta stamped Brayden Pointe in the strip, opening the door to a turnaround. Roope Hintz picked up the puck and then spotted Hanley. It was 1 to 0. And the Stars had just set the tone for this final.
Yanni Gourde scored his only goal on a lucky game in the first period. The Quebecer jumped on a return shot from Blake Coleman by redirecting the puck with his skate. Roope Hintz also touched the puck with her skate before she found herself behind Anton Khudobin.
Khudobin blocked 35 shots for a 13th victory.
+ Anton KhudobinKhudobin closed the door to the Lightning in the third period with 22 saves. The Stars only got two shots in the final third. – Brayden PointPoint was not a shadow of himself for this first match of the final. He didn't get a single shot against Khudobin.
1First period1-DAL: Joel Hanley (1) (Hintz) 5:40 2-VG: Yanni Gourde (6) (Coleman, Goodrow) 12: 32Punitions: Oleksiak (Dal) 8:08, Maroon (VG) 8:08. Second period 3-DAL: Jamie Oleksiak (5) (Radulov, Heiskanen) 12:30 4-DAL: Joel Kiviranta (5) (Lindell, Klingberg) 19:32 Punishments: Coleman (VG) 1:09, Coleman (VG) 6: 54, Maroon (TB) 20:00. Third period 5-DAL: Jason Dickinson (1) (Comeau, Janmark) FD-18: 42Punitions: Klingberg (Dal) 4:52, Comeau (Dal) 9:08, Seguin (Dal) 12:56. Shots on goalDALLAS 5 – 13 – 2 – 20 TAMPA BAY 4 – 10 – 22 – 36 Goalkeepers: DAL: Anton Khudobin (L, 13-6), VG: Andrei Vasilevskiy (P, 14-6). Numerical advantages: DAL: 0 in 2, VG: 0 in 3 Referees: Francis Charron, Wes McCauley. Linesmen : Brad Kovachik, Matt MacPherson. Anton Khudobin ★ Jamie Oleksiak ★★ Joel Kiviranta ★★★