The Vegas Golden Knights dominated the Florida Panthers 9-3 in Tuesday’s Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final to capture the franchise’s first championship.
Vegas jumped out to a 2-0 advantage on first-period goals from Mark Stone and Nicolas Hague.
Aaron Ekblad’s tally 2:15 into the second period gave the Panthers hope before the Golden Knights poured it on to put the game out of reach. Alec Martinez and Reilly Smith scored 1:45 apart, with Stone and Michael Amadio padding the lead to close out the middle frame.
Stone scored an empty-netter in the third period to complete the first hat trick in a Stanley Cup-winning game in over 100 years and the first in the Stanley Cup Final at all since Peter Forsberg in 1996.
Breakout sensation Adin Hill made 30 saves for Vegas in the victory.
“I thought we earned every step of the way,” Golden Knights head coach Bruce Cassidy told Sportsnet. “The series we won, I thought we played as the better team, so good for us.”
“The look in my teammates’ eyes when I got (the Stanley Cup), one of the craziest feelings I’ve ever had,” Stone said, according to The Associated Press. “I can’t even describe the feelings in my stomach right now. It’s everything you can imagine. The grind of an 82-game season, four playoff rounds. You grind, and you grind, and you grind.”
“This is what everyone dreams of,” Jack Eichel said. “You come to an organization like this, and the expectation is to win this thing. It’s a special place to play. I can’t give everyone enough credit for putting us in this position.
“They call ’em the misfits. Those are the guys; they built this. They built this culture. So proud to be a part of it.”
Jonathan Marchessault – one of those misfits as an original member of the Golden Knights – won the Conn Smythe Trophy as postseason MVP. He tallied 13 goals and 25 points in 22 playoff contests.
“(Vegas) earned it,” Panthers bench boss Paul Maurice said, according to The Athletic’s Michael Russo. “They were outstanding, and we didn’t have an answer for it.”
The Golden Knights’ nine goals are the most ever in a Stanley Cup-clinching victory, surpassing the previous record of eight set by the 1985 Edmonton Oilers and 1991 Pittsburgh Penguins.
Superstar forward Matthew Tkachuk didn’t suit up Tuesday for Florida due to an injury.
Vegas had four players reach the 10-goal mark in the postseason, a feat only previously done by the Oilers in 1985, 1988, and 1990.
Martinez, Phil Kessel, and Jonathan Quick became three-time Stanley Cup champions in the win. Martinez was the only player of the trio to play in this year’s finals.
Vegas entered the NHL in 2017-18 as an expansion team. The inaugural edition of the Golden Knights went on a Cinderella run to the Stanley Cup Final, losing to the Washington Capitals in five games.
The championship is the first for a major men’s professional team based in Las Vegas. The Las Vegas Aces won the WNBA title in 2022.
The Golden Knights are also the first franchise to win a Stanley Cup in a club’s first six NHL seasons since the 1984 Oilers, though the team existed for seven years in the WHA before joining the league in 1979.
“Playoffs in three, Cup in six,” team owner Bill Foley said in 2016. “No excuses. That’s the standard. I consider that being very patient.”
Got a story or tip for us? Email Sports Gossip editors at firstname.lastname@example.org
Want More From Sports Gossip?