The Vegas Golden Knights took Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final beating the Florida Panthers by a score of 5-2. For the most part, the Golden Knights dominated the game and were more prepared to start the Stanley Cup Final.
After the win, the Golden Knights now find themselves one step closer to hoisting the Stanley Cup, but before talking about the upcoming series in its entirety, let’s just focus on this big win.
The three biggest takeaways from the Vegas Golden Knights Game 1 win
1. Adin Hill did what he had to do
Adin Hill stopped 32 of the 34 shots he faced tonight. Heading into this series, one big narrative was how good Sergei Bobrovsky has been throughout the entire postseason, yet Hill was the one who shined in Game 1 making some remarkable saves.
Hill has really elevated his game in the playoffs. He went from being someone the San Jose Sharks were willing to trade for a fourth-round pick, to now being three wins away from the Stanley Cup. Here is one of the best saves I have ever seen in the playoffs:
2. The Golden Knights looked more prepared to start
The Golden Knights in general looked more ready to go for Game 1 than the Florida Panthers. It seemed like the group had learned from their mistakes in 2018 when they lost in five games to the Washington Capitals. This time around they knew there was still work to be done.
Throughout the majority of the game, especially during the second period, Vegas was having its way with the Panthers. Florida was not able to get much going throughout the night, in part because Vegas was clogging up the neutral zone, with 14 takeaways and controlling possession from the start having won 51.4% of the draws.
A lot of different players got involved on the scoresheet for the Golden Knights, from captain Mark Stone to even defenseman Shea Theodore. The Golden Knights found offense at five on five as well as on the power play with Jonathan Marchessault scoring a great power play goal near the end of the first period.
Marchessault’s power play goal extended his playoff point streak to six games. He is just one game shy of tying Max Pacioretty and Shea Theodore for the Golden Knights franchise record. The Panthers took a lot of penalties tonight, so hopefully the Golden Knights can continue to capitalize on those opportunities.
3. Florida’s style of play won’t easily bother the Golden Knights
The Florida Panthers succeed when they get under their opponents’ skin. Late in the second period, you could see Florida start getting a little bit more physical and try and change the game that way when it was all Vegas for over ten minutes. Despite the Panthers registering 36 hits and trying to make the game overly physical, the Golden Knights carried on playing their game.
Bobrovsky has been great this postseason, and Vegas knew they had to get more shots from the point relying on deflections and rebounds to try and score, and that worked great tonight. They also minimized the Panthers’ chances across the board and definitely looked like the better team.
Going into this the Panthers had won eight straight road games this postseason. Additionally, they have had a certain style to them where they have been in control of their series the past few rounds. Tonight was the first night Florida has looked frustrated and beaten and it will be interesting to see how they respond in game two.
Game two between Vegas and Florida is on Monday night, so fans won’t have to wait too long to see how both teams will respond. After a night where Vegas scored five goals, their goal song is definitely stuck in my head.