The NHL’s Stanley Cup Battles Continue this Week: Dallas Takes on Las Vegas; Tampa Takes On Islanders

Devout hockey fans have probably kept up with the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but if Trinity’s WiFi struggles have made doing just that difficult, here’s your recap for the past two weeks. 

The week of Sept. 7, the Dallas Stars faced the Vegas Golden Knights three times. The first game was played the week prior and the Stars had defeated the Knights by only one goal, so the teams appeared to be quite evenly matched. In the second game of the Western Conference Final, the two teams entered the second period tied 0-0. Not even five minutes in, Max Pacioretty sent a slick pass to Paul Stastny who scored, giving the Golden Knights a one-point lead. Less than four minutes later, William Karlsson scored on a power-play making the score 2-0, Golden Knights. The Knights then scored for a third time with a tic-tac-toe passing between Nicolas Roy, Chandler Stephenson, and Tomas Nosek. 

Enjoying their three-point lead, the Golden Knights sailed into the third period and sailed right out of it with a win, tying the series 1-1. 

When the two teams faced each other for a third time, the Stars held their own and the teams remained in a standoff at 0-0 for almost two full periods. With less than 20 seconds left in the second period, Jamie Oleksiak amazingly scored a breakaway goal, breaking the tie and giving the Stars a 1-0 lead just before the clock ran out. Scoring a power-play goal, Shea Theodore brought the game back to a tie of 1-1. 

Following this, Stars’ player Jamie Benn scored and then the Knights’ Alex Tuch did too. The teams were tied again, 2-2, and went into overtime where Alexander Radulov won the game with a rapid shot, giving the Stars a 2-1 lead in the series. 

When the teams played each other for a fourth time, the reason they won was quite evident: Anton Khudobin. Blocking 32 out of the 33 fired shots, Khudobin had successfully shut down the Golden Knights’ offense and only let one goal through. The Stars won this game 2-1. 

At this point, the Stars had won three out of the four games played and just needed to win the fifth to go to the Stanley Cup Final. If you’re a Dallas fan, you’re going to be happy with the results as the Stars won in overtime against the Golden Knights! 

Entering the third period, Vegas had a 2-0 lead, but that clearly didn’t shake the Stars’ spirits as captain Jamie Benn scored, cutting the Knights’ lead 2-1. Joel Kiviranta then scored on a power-play and sent the game into overtime. With Denis Gurianov’s score in overtime, the Dallas Stars were deemed the winners of the Western Conference and, for the first time in 20 years, have reached the Stanley Cup Final!

While the Western Conference needed five games for the Dallas’ Stars to win the final, the Eastern Conference needed six to determine their victor. By the fifth game, the Tampa Bay Lightning was in the same position as the Dallas Stars with a 3-1 lead on the New York Islanders. Their fifth game was going to determine if the Lightning could go the Stanley Cup Finals without playing another game against the Islanders. However, New York had other plans. 

Shooting on a powerplay in the first period with just over four minutes left on the clock, the New York Islanders took the lead 1-0. Then, early in the second, Victor Hedman tied the game at 1 for the Stars. The Islanders almost scored again but the referees called offsides, keeping the score 1-1. No shots were scored in the third period, so the game went into overtime. Again, however, no shots were scored so they went into double overtime where Jordan Eberle, assisted by Anders Lee, scored for the Islanders and won the game 2-1. 

Entering the sixth game, the stakes were still very high for New York as Tampa Bay only needed to win one more game to move into the Stanley Cup Final. Within the first five minutes of the period, Devon Toews scored for the Islanders, but this lead was not long-lasting as Victor Hedman tied the game roughly three minutes later. No shots were made in either the second or third period, so the game went into overtime. With just under seven minutes left, Anthony Cirelli scored, and the Tampa Bay Lightning were going to the Stanley Cup Final.

On Sept. 19 at 8 p.m., the Dallas Stars faced the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first game of the Stanley Cup Final. 5:40 into the first period, Dallas’ defenseman Joel Hanley scored. From there, Yanni Gourde tied the game at 1 after a series of bounces. Moving into the second period, Jamie Oleksiak, one of Dallas’ big defenseman, broke the tie 2-1. Just 27 seconds left in the second and Joel Kiviranta shot the puck, it was deflected by Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, and then Kiviranta, in a perfect move, collected his own rebound and scored!

Entering the third period, the Stars were still up by two and Khudobin wasn’t letting anything through as he saved 35 out of the 36 shots fired. With just a minute left, Jason Dickinson scored on an empty net from halfway up the ice, solidifying the first win of the final and bringing the score to 4-1. 

The Tampa Bay Lightning will play the Dallas Stars for their second game in the Stanley Cup Final in an exciting match in Edmonton, Canada on Sept. 21 at 8 p.m. 

Tune in next week to check out the Trinity Tripod sports page to see how the game turned out and see what’s up next!

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