Stanley Cup Final: Vegas Golden Knights win young franchise’s first NHL title against Florida Panthers

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Mark Stone of the Vegas Golden Knights raises the Stanley Cup after defeating the Florida Panthers to win the championship in game five of the 2023 Stanley Cup Finals at T-Mobile Arena on June 13 in Las Vegas, Nevada.



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The Vegas Golden Knights, in their sixth NHL season, defeated the Florida Panthers 9-3 on Tuesday night in Las Vegas to win their first franchise title. Stanley Cup In five games.

Vegas captain Mark Stone has had a goal to lead the Golden Knights every season since joining the NHL before the 2017-2018 season.

Stone, 31, became the first player since 1922 to record a hat trick in a Stanley Cup victory, the NHL said.

After the game, each player took a turn in raising the famous trophy, as is customary.

“Unbelievable,” Stone told TNT of the experience. “I looked into the eyes of my teammates … it was one of the craziest feelings I’ve ever had. Knowing that I did this with 25, 30 of my best friends was great.

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Mark Stone #61 of the Vegas Golden Knights celebrates after scoring an empty-net hat trick.

The Golden Knights’ offensive prowess was once again on full display Tuesday night in front of a raucous crowd inside and outside T-Mobile Arena. The Golden Knights became the seventh team in NHL history to score five or more goals in three or more games of a single Stanley Cup Finals series.

The championship was the second major title in two years for the city of Las Vegas. In 2022, the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces won the league crown with a 3-1 series victory over the Connecticut Sun.

Vegas took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission, then the second period saw the newly crowned champions score four times to take a 6-1 lead into the final 20 minutes.

Golden Knights goalie Adin Hill scored two goals, but continued to beat the Panthers with several great saves in the third.

Jonathan Marchessault won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the best player in the postseason. But he was diverted by the glory of the championship.

“You know, one night it’s one guy, one night it’s another guy,” he told TNT. “That’s the mentality we’ve had this year. We’re good teammates in that locker room. … Everybody stepped up at different times.”

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Brayden McNabb #3 of the Vegas Golden Knights looks to clear the puck.

Stone put the Golden Knights up 1-0 at the 8:08 mark. Less than two minutes later, Florida goaltender Sergey Bobrovsky got the puck under, and Vegas’ Nicolas Haag put it in the net for a 2-0 lead.

Already facing an uphill battle in the series, the Panthers were without the superstar Matthew Tkachuk He was ruled out for Game 5 with a broken sternum. Tkachuk had 24 points and 11 goals, several game-winners, to lead the Panthers in the playoffs.

But early in the second period, the Panthers cut the deficit to one as Aaron Ekblad scored on an assist from Nick Cousins. Ekplat’s second goal of the playoffs made it 2-1 at 17:45.

Alec Martinez found the top shelf over Bobrovsky’s right shoulder with a wrist shot to give the Golden Knights a two-goal lead again. With 9:32 left, it’s 3-1 Golden Knights.

Vegas extended its lead to three when Reilly Smith scored on a nifty pass from William Carlson. The score was 4-1 Vegas with 7:47 left in the second period.

With 2:45 left before halftime, Vegas got their fifth goal when Stone fired in his second on a smart cross-ice pass from Brett Howden.

Disaster struck for the Panthers — with seconds left in the period — when Florida failed to get out of the defensive zone and Smith picked it up at the blue line. He fed Michael Amadio in front of the net and his rebound shot bounced under Bobrovsky’s feet.

In the third period, the Golden Knights’ Ivan Barbashev scored a 7-1 lead before Florida’s Sam Reinhardt and Sam Bennett scored consolation goals.

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Ivan Barbashev #49 of the Vegas Golden Knights celebrates a goal with teammates during the third period.

Stone completed her hat trick with an empty-net goal to make it 8-3 as Florida played with six skaters. With a minute left in the period, Nicholas Roy made the final score 9-3.

After reaching the Stanley Cup Finals in the franchise’s inaugural season, the Golden Knights returned to the championship series for the second time in their young history.

“That pain, it was tough. To be honest. It took me almost two months, a whole year, to get over it because you’re so close,” said Marchessault, who has been with the team for six seasons. See that. Our team has been incredible since the beginning. And we’re winners.”

With the win, the Golden Knights became the second-fastest franchise to win a championship in the league’s modern era — since 1943-44. The Edmonton Oilers won the Stanley Cup in the franchise’s fifth season in the NHL.

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