Sports Minute: Stars lead Lightning 3-1 after 2 periods in Game 1 of final
By STEPHEN WHYNOAP Hockey Writer
EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — Jamie Oleksiak and Joel Kiviranta scored to give the Dallas Stars a 3-1 lead on the Tampa Bay Lightning after two periods of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday night.
After Oleksiak scored off his own rebound past the midway point of the period to break the tie, Kiviranta made it a two-goal lead with 27.4 seconds left before intermission. The rested Stars, who got four days off after winning the Western Conference final compared to the Lightning's one in the East, are outshooting Tampa Bay 18-14 through 40 minutes.
Dallas came out hitting knowing their opponent is banged up.
Stars forward Blake Comeau hit playoff MVP front-runner Victor Hedman on one of the first shifts, and Kiviranta crushed Lightning No. 1 center Brayden Point to set up Joel Hanley's goal that opened the scoring. Defenseman Esa Lindell also got into the physicality with Point, who has been playing through injury.
Four of the Stars' 25 first-period hits were on Point, who missed two games in the Eastern Conference final and is visibly playing through pain.
Hanley scored 5:40 in off a feed from Roope Hintz, who collected the puck after it was dislodged by Kiviranta's hit on Point. The goal was Hanley's first of any kind in the NHL.
Yanni Gourde tied the score for the Lightning seven minutes later after Blake Coleman took a shot, the puck pinballed off goaltender Anton Khudobin, Gourde's left skate and Hintz's right skate.
That was the final shot of the period, as each team didn't have one on net for the final 7:32. Lindell had the Stars' last shot before intermission with 10:13 left, and it was stopped by Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Oleksiak made it 2-1 at the 12:32 mark of the second, collecting his own rebound and scoring his fifth of the postseason. Kiviranta, who was the second-round Game 7 hero with a hat trick and the overtime winner, scored a dagger of a goal late in the period.
The series got under way with the Stanley Cup stationed rinkside inside the bubble parallel to the center red line. For all the usual tradition of the Cup only getting to the arena when a team has the chance to win it, playing without fans allowed the league to put it front and center for the players to literally see what they're playing for.
The Cup was put away after the first period. It could be seen next when the series is over.
Dallas last won it in 1999 and Tampa Bay in 2004. The Stars' core is in the final for the first time and several Lightning players and coach Jon Cooper are back after losing in 2015. It’s the first time these teams have faced off in the final.
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