At times this postseason the Vegas Golden Knights have looked like an unstoppable machine that is going to run over and destroy everything and anything that gets in its path. The Dallas Stars did not care about any of that in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final on Sunday night.

It was there that the Stars put together one of their best defensive efforts of the playoffs in a 1-0 win, taking an early series lead.

Anton Khudobin stopped all 25 shots he faced to record his first career postseason shutout, while defenseman John Klingberg scored the game’s only goal early in the first period.

His goal came on Dallas’ first shot of the game as he beat Marc-Andre Fleury, the surprise Vegas starter, on a wrist shot from the slot. Fleury stopped every shot he faced after that.


From that point on the story was all about Dallas’ defense as it completely disrupted Vegas’ offensive attack, especially through the first two periods.

The Golden Knights were finally able to generate a little more pressure in the third period, especially later in the game when they got into desperation mode, but they were unable to break through the Dallas defense led by Klingberg and current Conn Smythe front-runner Miro Heiskanen.

It was a complete switch from what Vegas was able to do in the Second Round against Vancouver.

It was also probably closer to what we expect to see out of the Stars. Their offense came to life in the first rounds against Calgary and Colorado, but the strength of this team — and the foundation of all of its success this season — has always been in its defensive play and goaltending. Despite what we saw against the Flames and Avalanche this is not a team that is going to consistently get into track meets where it exchanges chances and wins a high-scoring game.

It is a team whose game is built on the ability to shut you down.

On Sunday night they played that game about as well as they could have possibly played it.

Game 1: Stars 1, Golden Knights 0
Game 2: Tuesday, Sept. 8, 8 p.m. ET – NBCSN (livestream)
Game 3: 
Thursday, Sept. 10, 8 p.m. ET – NBCSN (livestream)
Game 4: 
Saturday, Sept. 12, 8 p.m. ET – NBC (livestream)
*Game 5: 
Monday, Sept. 14, 8 p.m. ET – NBCSN
*Game 6: 
Wednesday, Sept. 16, 8 p.m. ET – NBCSN
*Game 7: 
Friday, Sept. 18, 9 p.m. ET – NBCSN

*if necessary

• Stanley Cup Playoffs Conference Final schedule

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

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