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game recap

Golden Knights shut out Stars in Game 2 of Western Final, even series

Lehner makes 24 saves in return to Vegas net; Stastny has goal, assist

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / Staff Writer

Lehner's 24-save shutout

DAL@VGK, Gm2: Lehner shuts out Stars in Game 2

WCF, Gm2: Robin Lehner stops all 24 shots that he faces to shut out the Stars in a 3-0 victory in Game 2

  • 03:00 •

Robin Lehner made 24 saves, and the Vegas Golden Knights defeated the Dallas Stars 3-0 in Game 2 to even the Western Conference Final at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Tuesday.

It was Lehner's second straight shutout and fourth in his past seven starts. He backed up Marc-Andre Fleury in a 1-0 loss in Game 1 on Sunday after making 14 saves in a 3-0 win against the Vancouver Canucks in Game 7 of the second round Sept. 4.

"We didn't play our game in Game 1," Golden Knights coach Peter DeBoer said. "Tonight, we got our game back, and once we got that first goal, I thought we looked like we normally do, which is making plays and sticking pucks in the net."

Paul Stastny had a goal and an assist for Vegas, the No. 1 seed in the West, which scored four goals, including two into an empty net, in its previous four games.

Anton Khudobin allowed three goals on 27 shots for Dallas, the No. 3 seed. He was replaced to start the third period by Jake Oettinger, who made his NHL debut and saved the five shots he faced.

The Golden Knights outshot the Stars 19-7 in the second period.

"He got killed in that second period," Dallas coach Rick Bowness said of Khudobin. "Give him a breather, and you hope it'll spark some life into the guys. You put a kid in the net for his first NHL action, and you hope it'll spark some life. We had a better third period. Anton was the only reason it was 3-0. Without Anton, that's 6-0 after the second period."


[WATCH: All Stars vs. Golden Knights Game 2 highlights]


Stastny scored off a pass from Max Pacioretty to give Vegas a 1-0 lead at 4:53 of the second.

William Karlsson scored a power-play goal from the left face-off circle to make it 2-0 at 8:24.

"I think everybody was gripping their stick a little tight," Golden Knights forward Chandler Stephenson said. "We're at our best when we have that swagger and can make plays … so it was nice to get that mojo back tonight and even the series."

Tomas Nosek finished off a tic-tac-toe play with Stephenson and Nicolas Roy to make it 3-0 at 14:32 of the second.

Nosek was playing his third straight game and seventh of the postseason after being a healthy scratch four of five games in the first round against the Chicago Blackhawks and the first six games against Vancouver.

"We have a lot of great players, pretty good players, so someone has to stay out sometimes," he said. "I just try to stay ready, keep focusing and work hard every practice, and if the chance comes, I'll be ready and do my best."

Game 3 is in Edmonton, the hub city for the conference finals and Stanley Cup Final, on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS).

"We expected them to come out hard and respond," Stars forward Tyler Seguin said. "They're a great hockey team. We kind of shot ourselves in the foot on some plays tonight and gave them some goals. Vegas is a great team. They've been the favorites all along. You expected them to respond. I expect us to respond next game."

Video: Lehner, Golden Knights win Game 2, 3-0

Lehner leads the NHL with four shutouts in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and is the fourth goalie in the past 15 years with four in a single postseason (Tim Thomas for Boston Bruins and Roberto Luongo for Vancouver Canucks, 2011; Fleury for Vegas, 2018).

"It was good. I thought we played a very good game," Lehner said. "Guys were ready from the start. We outcompeted them today and played a [heck] of a game, so it made it a little easier for me."

Shea Theodore scored for the Golden Knights at 9:49 of the second, but Bowness challenged for goalie interference, and the goal was waved off after video review showed Pacioretty made incidental contact with Khudobin in the crease.

"We hung on in the first period, kept it 0-0 thanks to [Khudobin], and we had a couple of chances in the second period, but eventually when you're on your heels, you're going to get scored on, and we did," Stars forward Mattias Janmark said. "They were in charge all game; last game, we were in charge, I felt like. That's the big difference."

NOTES: Oettinger became the first goalie in 55 years, and only one in the expansion era (since 1967-68), to make his NHL debut in the round leading into the Stanley Cup Final (conference finals or NHL Semifinals). … It is the first time in the modern era (since 1943-44) that the conference finals/NHL Semifinals began with each team earning a shutout within the first two games. It's the eighth series in that span to begin that way and second this postseason (Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Columbus Blue Jackets in Stanley Cup Qualifiers). staff writer Tim Campbell contributed to this report

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