Anton Khudobin made three of his 32 saves on a crucial 5-on-3 penalty kill late, Joe Pavelski and Jamie Benn scored in the second period and the Dallas Stars are a victory away from the Stanley Cup Final after beating the Vegas Golden Knights 2-1 Saturday night in Game 4.
Dallas pushed Vegas to the brink of elimination despite being outshot 33-20. The Stars have 67 shots to the Golden Knights’ 105, yet lead the series 3-1.
Khudobin deserves credit for much of that, like when he spun his body to prevent a goal by William Karlsson in the second or dived to deny Brayden McNabb early in the third with Dallas clinging to the lead. His nonchalant glove stop on Shea Theodore during 1:10 of Vegas 5-on-3 power-play time showed how locked in he was.
The Stars also have done a masterful job of copying the way the Vancouver Canucks almost beat Vegas last round, by collapsing defensively and giving their goaltender the chance to see a vast majority of even-strength shots from the outside.
That strategy is working and flustering the Golden Knights, who have six goals in four games despite some high-quality chances. They were on the wrong end of some puck luck in Game 4.
After Alec Martinez cracked Khudobin with a power-play goal 7:44 into the second, a giveaway by Nate Schmidt proved costly. Andrew Cogliano, back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch for the first three games of the series, forced the turnover, Pavelski backhanded a shot and the puck deflected off Schmidt’s stick in mid-air and fluttered over goaltender Robin Lehner.