Surging Stars on cusp of 1st Stanley Cup final in 20 years

Stars' Khudobin shuts the door to put Golden Knights on cusp of elimination

EDMONTON-Anton Khudobin produced a few of the 32 conserves on a key five-on-three punishment kill overdue, Joe Pavelski and Jamie Benn scored at the next phase and the Dallas Stars are a victory against the Stanley Cup final after beating the Vegas Golden Knights 2-1 Saturday night at Game 4.

With another superb defensive performance backed by more brilliance from netminder Anton Khudobin, the Stars defeated the Vegas Golden Knights 2-1 in Game 4 of the Western Conference final to secure a firm 3-1 advantage in the series that will determine one half of the NHL's championship series.

The Golden Knights should miss winger Tomas Nosek who's been injured in Game 3.

"I was happy to see that one go in, " Pavelski said.

"He's feelin' good. He's there before the shot gets there a lot of times", allowed DeBoer. Absolutely. We understand where we're at, and we haven't done anything yet. But that's what he is: "He's a battler, he's a competitive guy and he's keeping us in every game". The Stars won the last matchup 2-1.

Since the conference format was adopted for the 1981-82 season, teams with a 3-1 lead in the conference finals are 34-1 (97.1 percent). If this were a best-of-11, the Golden Knights could take solace in the fact that all that possession would eventually translate into goals and wins.

"There's no quitters in that locker room".

That said, the Golden Knights know all too well how a series can change. Vegas could be dominating the West final, but instead there's head-shaking at creating high-quality scoring chances and emerging with nothing to show for them. "This is a long way from over, and we're going to be a tough out".

Do that and the Golden Knights can extend the series. Goaltender Andrei Vasilevkiy made 27 saves on 28 shots to help the Lightning secure game two of the series.

"I just try to find the puck and react to it", Khudobin said. "I don't know if it's luck or whatever".

The goal puts Dallas back in a familiar position.

Behind Khudobin, the Stars can clinch their first trip to the Stanley Cup Final in 20 years Monday in Edmonton. "Dobby made some big saves for us in timely situations and that's confidence".

"Obviously, there's a sense of urgency right now, where we are in the series, but you have to stay positive", said Vegas forward Reilly Smith. The more you get down on yourself, the more you kind of push yourself in the opposite direction. We just have to start finding pucks. "We just have to find a way right now". "Defensively we've been good", he said.

"We are enjoying with the most penalized team in the playoffs and now we have got the puck, so that I anticipate the penalties to maintain our favor, and we have earned this by our field and from how we are enjoying", DeBoer said. I thought we created some really good looks. If they are going to beat the Stars in this one, I don't think the Knights will score just a goal or two. "Their best player, Joe Pavelski, takes a backhander, it rolls up the shaft of the stick and over our goalie's shoulder". We haven't got any of those.



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