On Monday, the Vegas Golden Knights dominated the Florida Panthers 7-2 at T-Mobile arena to take a 2-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Final.
The Vegas Golden Knights crushed the Florida Panthers 7-2 for a 2-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Final. Brett Howden and Jonathan Marchessault had two goals apiece while Adin Hill backstopped the Golden Knights with 29 saves on 31 shots.
The crowd was the largest(18,561) in four years, and the fans went wild, singing “Vegas Lights” seven times. Adin Hill made 29 saves on 31 shots, and the DJ played “King of the Hill” every time he made a save. Vegas is now two wins away from their maiden kiss with the Cup.
The Golden Knights dominated with four goals in the first two periods from Jonathan Marchessault, Alec Martinez, Nicolas Roy, and Brett Howden. The barrage chased Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky who Alex Lyon relived. Florida scored two in the third courtesy of Anton Lundell and Mathew Tkachuk. But the Knights responded with three more, from Micheal Amadio, Marchessault and Howden. The contest had its fair share of physicality. The teams combined 148 penalty minutes, the second-most in a Cup Final contest.
Vegas sets the tone with four unanswered goals:
Jonathan Marchessault kicked off the scoring with a power play snipe past Bobrovsky at 7:05 of the first period. It was his twelfth tally in the last 12 games after not scoring in the first seven games of these playoffs.
Toward the end of the frame, Alec Martinez took Ivan Barbashev’s feed and scored, doubling Vegas’s lead.
The Knights kept their pedal to the medal in the second period. They tripled their advantage when Nicolas Roy worked himself out of the left corner, cut to the net, and scored his second goal of the playoffs.
But the most impressive tally came at the 7:10 mark, courtesy of the Vegas assistant equipment manager JW Aiken. Golden Knights forward Mark Stone broke his stick in the defensive zone and skated toward the bench to pick up the replacement. Aiken then grabbed a new stick and rushed to meet Stone for the handoff. Stone then put the puck on the tape of Brett Howden’s blade, who made a series of moves before beating Bobrovsky to make it 4-0.
These tallies came from Vegas, establishing their speed and winning races to pucks. They beat the Panthers at their own game. They’ve imposed their depth with nine different players combining for their first 12 goals of the series. They’ve turned Florida’s white-hot netminder into a “sieve.”
Jack Eichel displays his toughness in the Stanley Cup Final:
During the second period, Mathew Tkachuk attempted to motivate his team with a forceful hit on Eichel. Tkachuk collided with Eichel while exiting the Vegas zone, resulting in Eichel limping to the dressing room.
“I just came off the bench and saw him in the middle of the ice with his head down. Tkachuk said. “It doesn’t matter who you are; you shouldn’t go through the middle with your head down. You’re gonna get hit. I would get hit, too, if I had my head down in the middle.” Tkachuk was given a game misconduct for the second straight night.
In Stanley Cup Final history, Tkachuk ranks ninth in penalty minutes with 36 after two games. The current record for penalty minutes in the final is 53, set by Mel Bridgman in 1980. The Panthers also lost defenseman Radko Gudas, who Barbashev bodied after delivering a cross-check to Marchessault.
Before getting hit, Eichel tripped and appeared to be in significant pain. He quickly left the ice but returned for the third period. On his first shift back, Eichel assisted on Marchessault’s second goal of the night. Eichel called Tkachuk’s hit a “clean check.”
“It’s a physical game,” he said. “You’re gonna get hit sometimes, so you just kinda move on.” “I’m not surprised, to be honest,” Marchessault said. “He’s been playing playoff hockey all year for us. I mean, he’s been great.
When you have a high-quality player like that, you want to be the go-to guy on the team; you have to step up on those occasions, in my mind. That’s what he’s been doing, and that’s why we’re in this situation.” “It was a clean hit,” Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy said. “That’s hockey. As a group, it was great to see him come back. Not only does it give us juice, but sometimes it can take the juice away from the other team if they see a guy come back.”
Right before Eichel returned to the ice, Anton Lundell scored for the Panthers by bouncing a puck off Martinez’s skate and into the Vegas net. It brought the game to a closer 4-1, and with an entire period left to play, Florida was hoping to capitalize on the momentum.
Afterward, Eichel quickly entered the game, immediately getting physical and making a play that stopped the Florida momentum.
Eichel leads the Golden Knights with 22 playoff points, matching a franchise record. He’s been exceptional without scoring and is making everyone around him better through his tenacious play.
Bobrovsky is back to his old ways:
Although the defense in front of him has been poor, causing players to skate into screens, it’s not entirely Sergei Bobrovsky’s fault. However, he has gone from being a potential Conn Smythe winner to struggling in the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final. The Golden Knights are shooting high and through screens. Bobrovsky is low. It doesn’t help that his teammates are screening him. “We can be a little better in front of our goaltender,” Paul Maurice told Bally Sports. “He’s been unbelievable for us… I got him out to keep him rested.”
Bobrovsky won the final three games against the record-setting Boston Bruins. He limited the high-octane Toronto Maple Leafs to 10 goals in five games. He only allowed six in four games against Carolina. But through 87 minutes in the Stanley Cup Final, he’s allowed eight goals and was replaced by Alex Lyon after allowing four goals on 13 shots in just 27 minutes and 10 seconds. It’s only added to Florida’s frustrations. Now, the Panthers head to FLA Live arena for Game 3 on Thursday in a must-win situation. “We feel that our best hockey is still ahead of us”, head coach Maurice told Sportsnet. “
They better find it fast.