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Physical Stars take Game 1 of Cup finals

(AP Photo/Richard W. Rodriguez)

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) The well-rested Stars took it to the banged-up Tampa Bay Lightning hard and early and goaltender Anton Khudobin closed it out with 22 third-period saves as Dallas won Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final 4-1 on Saturday night.

Joel Hanley and Jamie Oleksiak continued the Stars' postseason trend of getting goals from defensemen, and second-round Game 7 hat trick hero Joel Kiviranta scored late in the second period to provide some breathing room. Khudobin continued to shine in his first playoffs as the starter, making 35 saves, some of them in spectacular fashion.

Khudobin was at his best in the third when the Lightning found their legs and tilted the ice toward him. He came up big on two penalty kills and strengthened his case for the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.


Bettman: NHL may begin later than Dec. 1

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) Gary Bettman will take his first sigh of relief in months when he presents the Stanley Cup.

"Maybe I'll get a full night sleep," the NHL Commissioner said.


Unlikely scorers leading way for Stars

Joel Hanley had never scored a goal in the NHL until Game 1 of the Stanley Cup for the Dallas Stars.

Just another unlikely scorer this postseason for the Stars, like rookie Joel Kiviranta.


Wild won't re-sign captain Koivu

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) Mikko Koivu's extraordinary career with the Minnesota Wild is over.

General manager Bill Guerin said Friday the team will not resign the 37-year-old Finn, whose contract is expiring.


Stamkos not expected to play Game 1

Captain Steven Stamkos is out, Brayden Point is hurting and Anthony Cirelli is hobbling, too.

The Tampa Bay Lightning enter the Stanley Cup Final against the Dallas Stars with several key players dealing with injuries the team somehow was able to withstand during an impressive run to the Eastern Conference championship.


Penguins re-sign F McCann for 2 years

PITTSBURGH (AP) Jared McCann is sticking with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The team announced Friday it has re-signed the 24-year-old forward to a two-year contract that runs through the 2021-22 season. The deal carries an average annual value of $2.94 million.


Bowness to face former boss Cooper

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) Two nights after the Dallas Stars advanced to the Stanley Cup Final, their coaching staff was seated at a table for dinner in the NHL bubble right next to their counterparts from the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Lightning coach Jon Cooper got to chat with former assistant Rick Bowness, who has the Stars in the final after taking over the head job on an interim basis in December.


Lightning put past failures behind

Jon Cooper experienced difficulty in finding the right words.

Emotionally spent following a 2-1 overtime Eastern Conference final series-clinching win over the New York Islanders, the usually articulate Tampa Bay Lightning coach searched putting into perspective what it meant to be returning to the Stanley Cup Final with much of the team's core still intact from its previous trip in 2015.


Coyotes tab Armstrong as team's next GM

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) The Arizona Coyotes have hired St. Louis assistant GM Bill Armstrong as their next general manager.

Armstrong arrives in the desert after spending the past two seasons as the Blues' assistant GM and director of amateur scouting. He replaces John Chayka, who resigned on the eve of Arizona's first postseason appearance in eight years.


Playoffs showcasing Russian goalies

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) Nikolai Khabibulin wakes up in Yekaterinburg to watch NHL playoff highlights and beams with pride at the saves made by so many Russian goaltenders.

For the first time, there were three Russian starting goaltenders in the conference finals, with Anton Khudobin of the Dallas Stars, Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Tampa Bay Lightning advancing to meet for the title. Countryman Semyon Varlamov and the New York Islanders fell to Tampa Bay in overtime in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals Thursday night.

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