Lehner shines as Golden Knights blank Stars to level NHL series

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Los Angeles (AFP)

Robin Lehner made 24 saves as the top-seeded Vegas Golden Knights shut out the Dallas Stars 3-0 to level their NHL Western Conference final at one game apiece on Tuesday.

It was Lehner's second straight shutout and fourth in his past seven starts.

He had backed up Marc-Andre Fleury in a 1-0 defeat in game one on Sunday after making 14 saves in a series-clinching 3-0 win over Vancouver on Friday.

Paul Stastny, William Karlsson and Tomas Nosek scored for the Golden Knights.

Stastny opened the scoring at 4:53 of the second off a pass from Max Pacioretty and Karlsson made it 2-0 with a power-play goal from the left face-off circle at 8:24.

Nosek finished off an exchange with Chandler Stephenson and Nicolas Roy to make it 3-0 at 14:32 of the second.

"We didn't play our game in game one," Golden Knights coach Peter DeBoer said of the 1-0 defeat in the series opener. "Tonight, we got our game back, and once we got that first goal, I thought we looked like we normally do, which is making plays and sticking pucks in the net."

Anton Khudobin allowed three goals on 27 shots for Dallas. He was replaced to start the third period by Jake Oettinger, who made his NHL debut and saved all five shots he faced.

"He got killed in that second period," Dallas coach Rick Bowness said of Khudobin. "Give him a breather, and you hope it'll spark some life into the guys.

"You put a kid in the net for his first NHL action, and you hope it'll spark some life," added Bowness, who added that "without Anton, that's 6-0 after the second period."

Nosek was playing his third straight game and seventh of the playoffs after he was a healthy scratch for four of five games in the first round against the Chicago Blackhawks and the first six games against Vancouver.

"We have a lot of great players, pretty good players, so someone has to stay out sometimes," he said. "I just try to stay ready, keep focusing and work hard every practice, and if the chance comes, I'll be ready and do my best."

Game three is on Thursday in Edmonton, the NHL's hub city for both the Eastern and Western conference finals and the Stanley Cup Final.

Dallas forward Tyler Seguin said the Stars weren't surprised to see the Golden Knights come out firing after their opening defeat.

"They're a great hockey team. We kind of shot ourselves in the foot on some plays tonight and gave them some goals. Vegas is a great team. They've been the favorites all along. You expected them to respond."

"I expect us to respond next game," he added.