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Vegas Golden Knights Win First Stanley Cup - Newstbt.com

Tiffany Burroughs
Updated: 3 August 2023
6 min to read

The 2022-23 NHL championship was clinched by the Vegas Golden Knights in a dominant 9-3 victory over the Florida Panthers in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final.
Mark Stone Stanley Cup

After an intense five-game Stanley Cup Finals series, the Vegas Golden Knights were able to bring the Stanley Cup home, much to the excitement of team captain Mark Stone. At T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, home for the Golden Knights, Stone was ecstatic to hoist the Cup and declare his team the triumphant victor. “Unbelievable,” Stone said. “The look in my teammates’ eyes when I got it, one of the craziest feelings I’ve ever had. I can’t even describe the feelings in my stomach right now. It’s everything you can imagine.” The Golden Knights had initially taken a 2-0 lead over the Florida Panthers after winning the first two games in Las Vegas. However, the Panthers pushed back, scoring a win in Game 3 before the Golden Knights secured the road victory in Game 4. With one final match at home, the Golden Knights earned the championship.

In Game 3 of the championship series, the Panthers suffered a great loss when star winger Matthew Tkachuk sustained a fractured sternum as a result of a collision. Despite Tkachuk’s attempt to continue playing through the pain in Game 4’s loss, he was ultimately forced to sit out for Game 5. The Golden Knights didn’t let the Panthers’ misfortune become their own and utilized their 3-1 series lead to their advantage, winning the championship with a powerful victory in Game 5. Their ambitious six-year journey to the title was finally over, solidifying their place in the annals of history.

Golden Trip: Six-Year Journey to a Championship

Just six seasons after entering the NHL, the Golden Knights achieved a historic milestone on Tuesday, becoming the fasted expansion team in modern NHL history to win the Stanley Cup. Originally led by Jonathan Marchessault and William Karlsson with help from six other original players in the team’s inaugural season, the Golden Knights saw a magical run to the Stanley Cup Final, but eventually lost to the Washington Capitals. Though they were unsuccessful, the Golden Knights learned from the experiences of 2018 and came back stronger. The Golden Knights had a successful 51-win season and 111 points in the standings, locking up the top seed in the Western Conference. Marchessault expressed that “We waited a long time for that moment to come back,” and that they “wanted to make sure we cashed in this time”. Karlsson reminisced on the 2018 season stating “It was a magical year in 2018. We were close, but unfortunately, it didn’t go our way.”.

The Golden Knights were slight favorites to the Stanley Cup Final at -130 odds, with the Florida Panthers the unlikely underdogs at +110 when they faced off. The Panthers had proved their prowess earlier in the playoffs, raising eyebrows as they eliminated the first-ranked Boston Bruins in a 3-1 series dramatic finish, with a stunning three-consecutive game rally. This marked the first trip to the Stanley Cup Final for the Panthers since 1996, when they suffered a 0-4 sweep to the Colorado Avalanche. In the end, the Panthers were likely glad they took the chance, as they won both the Conference Title and Jonathan Marchessault earned top honors with the Conn Smythe Trophy.

Jonathan Marchessault Wins Conn Smythe Trophy

Captain Mark Stone had an impressive feat, scoring a hat trick in the 9-3 blowout. This, however, was overshadowed by teammate and winger Jonathan Marchessault who won the Conn Smythe Trophy, the postseason version of the MVP. Marchessault tallied a total of 25 points in the playoffs, with 13 goals and 12 assists, an extraordinary accomplishment especially after not scoring a goal in the first-round series. In the Stanley Cup Finals alone, Marchessault scored four goals and added eight assists. After correctly awarded the Conn Smythe trophy, Marchessault said, “I couldn’t be more proud of our team, our organization. Everybody stepped up at different times, and that’s why we’re winners.” Marchessault, at age 32, is now the first undrafted player to win a Conn Smythe since the iconic Wayne Gretzky. The former member of the Florida Panthers was a part of the Golden Knights’ squad since the 2017 expansion draft, where he was one of six left over players. He led the team in goals during the regular season with 28, truly proving his worth.

The Panthers were outscored 26-12 and “Playoff Bob” was not present.

Panthers Outscored 26-12, ‘Playoff Bob’ Absent

The Panthers began the postseason with an impressive 42-32-8 record, however, by the time the playoffs came around, the team had reached its peak performance. It is not often that a team can win the cup unless its starting goaltender surges in the stretch. Sergei Bobrovsky was chosen to start the playoffs, after Alex Lyon had opened the first three games of the opening round against the Bruins. The two-time Vezina Trophy winner earned the nickname ‘Playoff Bob’ following two overtime wins as the Panthers bagged the Eastern Conference title. He went undefeated in the first 12 games before the Finals against the Golden Knights. Nonetheless, his defensive efforts were in vain; the Panthers unable to contain the Knights, culminating in Bobrovsky being lit up in the Finals.

The Panthers’ hopes of a Stanley Cup title ended abruptly as they were outscored 26-12 in the finals. After impressing in three road games in Las Vegas, the Panthers were eventually overwhelmed by a 21-7 margin. Adin Hill, the Golden Knights’ third-string goalie at the start of the playoffs, made the best of his opportunity when starter Laurent Brossoit suffered an injury in the second round. Hill was chosen over backup Jonathan Quick to start in Game 3 and went on to post an 11-4 record in the playoffs with a .932 save percentage. His spectacular stick save to deny Nick Cousins in Game 1 was the best save of the finals. With their Cinderella run stopped in its tracks, the Panthers enter the 2024 season with the Colorado Avalanche as the favourites to win the Stanley Cup.

2024 Stanley Cup Odds: Colorado Avalanche the Favorite

BetMGM set +1200 odds for the reigning Stanley Cup champions, the Vegas Golden Knights, to repeat their success. However, their runner-ups, the Florida Panthers, have been given +2000 odds to secure their first ever championship. Even though the Colorado Avalanche triumphed at last season’s Stanley Cup, they sustained injuries during the 2022-23 regular season. Despite this, their odds of winning the Cup the following year are +800, making them the event’s favourite contender. It has been thirty years since a Canadian team last won the Stanley Cup, which was the Montreal Canadiens in 1993. In view of this, Toronto Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers have +1000 odds on winning the cup for the upcoming 2023-24 season. Could this be the year when one of these teams become Canada’s first Cup champions in over three decades?

The Bruins took home the Presidents’ Cup this past season after accumulating a record 135 points and 65 wins, but were faced with defeat when they encountered the Panthers in the opening round. They earned a promising +1100 odds to win the Stanley Cup championship, coming in fourth place on the NHL futures board, followed closely by the New Jersey Devils and Carolina Hurricanes, which are tied for fifth place at +1200 odds with the Golden Knights.

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Updated: 3 August 2023
6 min to read

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