EDMONTON, Alberta — Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final got under way between the Dallas Stars and the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night with the trophy stationed rinkside inside the NHL bubble.
For all the usual tradition of the Cup only getting to the arena when a team has the chance to win it, playing without fans allowed the league to put it front and center for the players to literally see what they’re playing for.
Dallas last won it in 1999 and Tampa Bay in 2004. The Stars’ core is in the final for the first time and several Lightning players and coach Jon Cooper are back after losing in 2015. It’s the first time these teams have faced off in the final.
— #StanleyCup Final on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) September 19, 2020
These teams are banged up but have most of their players on the ice. The Lightning are missing Steven Stamkos, but the injured captain could return later on. Winger Radek Faksa and defenseman Stephen Johns remained out for the Stars.
This is the first final in NHL history to feature two Russian starting goaltenders, with Dallas’ Anton Khudobin vs. Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy. Cooper against Rick Bowness is also the first time a coach has faced a former assistant in the final.