Vegas Golden Knights Win the Stanley Cup!
FiredUp Network Sports Writer
Wednesday, June 14, 2023
The Golden Knights are Stanley Cup Champions. Vegas defeated Florida 9-3 in a resounding Game 5 victory to clinch their first NHL Championship on Tuesday night. It was a show fitting of the lights and glamor of the city itself, complete with splendid passes, a hat trick by their Captain Mark Stone, and even some pageantry. Knights Coach Bruce Cassidy started five of the original Vegas players known as the Misfits and put the sixth on the second shift.
Mark Stone scored the first goal of the contest, defenseman Nicolas Hague chipped in the second on a messy rebound attempt that squeaked past Bobrovsky to make the lead 2-0 for Vegas. The Panthers' Aaron Ekblad got Florida on the board with a deep wrist shot that evaded Hill high, over his left shoulder. The shot was set up by a beautiful pass from Nick Cousins as he battled through contact to deliver the puck, and the 23 year NHL veteran Eric Staal stood firmly in front of Hill, blocking his view of Ekblad's wobbly knuckling wrister. Alec Martinez made it 3-1 on a breakaway goal with 9:32 to go in the second period and the route was on. Reilly Smith scored for Vegas again just two minutes later, and the rest is history. Vegas wins 9-3.
A crowd of 19,058 packed T-Mobile arena for the Game 5 Cup clincher. They were nearly hysterical in their roaring excitement from the beginning and it just grew with each goal. They could feel the Cup getting closer, and they kept getting louder.
Jonathan Marchessault won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Playoff MVP. He ended the postseason with a 10-game points streak.
"I couldn't be more proud of our team, our organization, '' Marchessault said. "Everybody stepped up at different times and that's why we're winners."
Stone became the first player to record a hat-trick in a Stanley Cup Final since Peter Forsberg did it with the Colorado Avalanche in 1996, also against the Panthers.
Aidin Hill delivered another strong performance and he quickly became a Knights fan favorite. You could even hear them chanting "MVP! MVP!" in the third period.
Stone was first to lift the cup followed by all 6 misfits one at a time, and then the rest of the team.
"Unbelievable, The look in my teammates eyes when I got it, one of the craziest feelings I've ever had." Stone said. "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."
Sam Reinhart, Sam Bennet, and Aaron Ekblad scored for Florida. Segei Bobrovsky struggled in this game and in this series as a whole after carrying the Panthers to the final. Matthew Tkachuk didn't skate in game 5 due to a broken sternum, an injury he suffered in game 3 and still played another game and a half in pain before sitting this one out. It was tragic but obvious to the discerning eye, that without Tkachuk or the heroic version of Bobrovsky the Panthers had little hope.
Six players remain on Vegas' roster from the initial 2017-2018 team that lost in five games to the Washington Capitals in the final.
"We waited a long time for that moment to come back. We wanted to make sure we cash in this time" Marcessault Said.