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.
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]