Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Anton Khudobin, it seems, truly is the goaltender to beat these playoffs. (Who had that on their 2020 Bingo Card?)
After managing to stop 40 shots to eliminate Colorado in a tight game seven just two short days ago, Anton Khudobin posted his first career NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs shutout on Sunday night — against the top-seeded Vegas Golden Knights, of all teams. He turned away 25 shots on goal en route to the 1-0 final decision, giving Dallas a surprising upset win to take the first victory of the Western Conference Final.
— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) September 7, 2020
There’s plenty to unpack — the bizarre nature of the playoffs, the mysterious new inability of the Vegas Golden Knights to score goals when the other team has a goaltender in net, why Vegas went with Marc-Andre Fleury instead of Robin Lehner to start this round — but it’s also just a nice feel-good story for a goaltender who played in the WHL, ECHL, AHL, and KHL before finally making it to the show.
In the Eastern Conference, there’s some surprising news — but in the Tampa Bay-New York game, it appears that the shock won’t come in net. Tampa Bay will be without captain Steven Stamkos, who has yet to appear in a game since February, for the entirety of the series. [NHL on NBC]
Outside of the playoffs, here’s a fun story about Emerson Etem — who has retired from playing hockey, but has turned his efforts to coaching teens in hopes of finding a new path for his career. [Color of Hockey]
In non-hockey news, the US Open men’s round saw a bit of a startling turn of events when World No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic was defaulted from his match after striking a line official in the neck with a ball:
BREAKING: World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has been DEFAULTED from the #USOpen, during the first set of his match against Pablo Carreno Busta, after a ball he hit toward the baseline struck a linesperson. pic.twitter.com/E8JnOJ3kgK
— TENNIS (@Tennis) September 6, 2020
The actual act of striking the line official, a woman who ended up on the ground for a few minutes after being hit, was seemingly a clear accident. But it wasn’t his first reckless volley of the ball after a point had ended during the tournament — and as many have pointed out, rules are rules.
Now, there is no man left in the field who has won a Grand Slam title before — meaning tennis will have its first first-time grand slam winner in six years. [ESPN]
Finally, it’s the nine-year anniversary of the plane crash that killed the entire Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey team right at the start of the 2011-12 KHL season. If you haven’t read it before, worth reading this piece on the tragedy — and the legacy of the players that left behind family, friends, and fans heartbroken. [Sportsnet]