Game 1 Takeaways: Stone, Golden Knights start title defence with road win

Mark Stone scored in his first game back from LTIR and Logan Thompson was solid, making 27 saves, to help the Vegas Golden Knights beat the Dallas Stars 4-3 to take Game 1 of the series.

The defending Stanley Cup champions are off to a winning start in the post-season. 

The finally healthy Vegas Golden Knights rolled into Dallas and held on for a 4-3 win to take a 1-0 series lead over the top dogs in the Western Conference. 

Game 1 was a goal-scoring bonanza in the first period that slowed down significantly from that torrid pace, and Vegas led from start to finish. 

Here are our takeaways from Game 1, a road win for the Golden Knights: 

Welcome back, Captain Stone (and also: Boo) 

Mark Stone made his return to the lineup Monday after missing 26 games with a lacerated spleen, and the Vegas captain took little time to get back into the swing of things. A little more than a minute, to be precise. 

Stone scored 1:23 into the game, tipping in a Noah Hanifin point shot on the power play to give Vegas the 1-0 lead. 

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It was the first of five goals in the opening frame. 

Vegas extended that lead on a goal from Jonathan Marchessault, then captain Jamie Benn got Dallas on the board, Tomas Hertl answered for Vegas on the power play, and Jason Robertson pulled Dallas back within one. Vegas led 3-2 through 20 minutes. 

Stone was interviewed at ice level during the intermission, and he was booed so hard by Dallas fans that he couldn’t hear the questions. 

Vegas’s hot start, ability to hold on 

Stone needed little time to strike in the first, and Brayden McNabb needed even less time to get Vegas on the board in the second. 

It was 1:03 into the second frame when McNabb played the puck off the boards from the point, firing one through traffic that found the back of the net to restore Vegas’s two-goal lead. 

American Airlines Center grew pretty quiet, though fans were still booing Stone when he touched the puck. 

The defending champions had a 4-2 lead heading into the third. This past regular season, they were 31-3-3 when leading through two periods. 

You had to give them odds to hold on. 

Thompson hangs on

The Stars had a lot of chances they couldn’t convert on, but they managed to pull within one with eight minutes go to on a goal Vegas goalie Logan Thompson definitely wants back. 

Stars winger Mason Marchment crossed the blueline and tossed a wrist shot on net that should’ve been a routine glove save, but instead the puck bounced off the top of Thompson’s glove and in the net. 

A goal is a goal is a goal. The Stars were back in this one. 

Dallas pulled goalie Jake Oettinger to get the extra attacker with 2:30 to go. Robertson hit a post. The Stars pressed. Fans sang Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer.” But Dallas couldn’t tie this one up. 

Credit is due to 27-year-old Thompson, who was playing in his first-ever NHL playoff game, and not only had 27 saves to record the victory, but also held on after letting in that third-period stinker. He didn’t let it rattle him.  

Thompson got a big hug from Stone when it was over. 

The Vegas captain is back in the lineup. And his team, the most injured in the NHL in the regular season, is now healthy and up 1-0 on the best in the West. 

Game 2 goes Wednesday night. 

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