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John Klingberg, back, is congratulated by his Dallas teammates after scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win over the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals Sunday in Edmonton, Alberta. Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP

EDMONTON, Alberta — John Klingberg scored on the Stars’ first shot, Anton Khudobin made 25 saves and Dallas beat Vegas 1-0 on Sunday night in a hard-hitting, defensive Game 1 of the Western Conference finals.

Khudobin got his first NHL playoff shutout in the Stars’ first 1-0 playoff win in regulation since 2000.

In true lockdown Stars fashion, the game had almost double the amount of hits (96) than shots on goal (50). Two days after each team won a Game 7 in the second round, Dallas had more jump from the drop of the puck and carried that to a series lead.

Klingberg’s goal 2:36 into the game was all the offense Coach Rick Bowness’ team needed. It looked like surprise Vegas starter Marc-Andre Fleury didn’t get reset after Dallas captain Jamie Benn’s shot attempt was blocked, and Klingberg fired the loose puck past him into the net.

It was the Stars’ 55th goal this postseason, and the 52nd scored with either Klingberg or fellow defenseman Miro Heiskanen on the ice.

EASTERN CONFERENCE: Lightning Coach Jon Cooper ruled out captain Steven Stamkos from playing in the Eastern Conference finals against the New York Islanders.

“He’s not available. He didn’t skate today. Not going to play in the series,” Cooper said during the team’s Zoom call on Sunday, a day before the series opener.

Cooper did not provide any other details on Stamkos, a  high-scoring forward who has been out since having surgery for a core muscle injury on March 2.

Stamkos recuperated while the NHL was on pause, then got back onto the ice before aggravating the injury during voluntary workouts. He’s not played since logging 12 1/2 minutes of ice time in a 4-3 loss to Toronto on Feb. 25.

In July, Stamkos was optimistic he would be ready for the start of the playoffs.

“I’ve been progressing. … Definitely the best I felt was today on the ice, so another step forward,” he said.

“There was a stretch where for four or five weeks when I was skating. I was feeling really good, then kind of hit a little rut,” Stamkos said, noting the setback was related to his injury. “Certainly feeling a lot better now. Chalk it up to the ups and downs of going through a rehab, especially a rehab in these times where it was difficult to navigate.”

Stamkos ranked second on the team with 29 goals and 66 points in 57 games before being sidelined.

The No. 1 pick in the 2008 draft is a five-time 40-goal scorer. He has topped 20 goals in each of his 12 seasons except for 2016-17, where he only played 17 games after tearing a knee ligament.

Cooper also ruled out defenseman Jan Rutta, who has not played since Aug. 5.


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