Could this season's Vegas Golden Knights handle these Florida Panthers?

How would the Vegas Golden Knights fare in a Stanley Cup Final rematch against the Florida Panthers? The answer might surprise you.
Vegas Golden Knights v Florida Panthers
Vegas Golden Knights v Florida Panthers / Joel Auerbach/GettyImages
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The Matthew Tkachuk question

Matthew Tkachuk was a factor in last year's Stanley Cup Final in many ways. There was the scoring factor where he scored two goals and an assist in three games. There was also the other side, including two roughing minors and a 10-minute misconduct in the first game. He also missed the clinching game with a fractured sternum, leaving Vegas to hoist their first Stanley Cup. One thing to note was that Tkachuk played through that injury throughout that series, limiting him.

What would've happened if the Florida Panthers star appeared more frequently in the series? Would Florida have a better chance of surviving and going toe-to-toe with the Vegas Golden Knights? With the Panthers adding more scoring depth with Kyle Okposo and Vladimir Tarasenko, they would've been tougher to stop this season.

Yes, Logan Thompson and Adin Hill did a good job for Vegas in the first round against Dallas. However, this Panthers team is more potent offensively than last season, with deeper lines and more playmakers. Sometimes, a combination of outstanding goal scorers and a good goaltender can win the Stanley Cup. Florida has that recipe this season, blowing through their opponents with ease.

The verdict

The Florida Panthers defeated the Edmonton Oilers in the opening game of this season's Stanley Cup Final. By an outstanding Sergei Bobrovsky and consistently attacking Edmonton offensively, the Panthers put themselves in a good position moving forward. The only thing the Oilers could say was "rats."

If the Vegas Golden Knights got their rematch, it would've been more challenging than last season, especially with Florida's new additions. This would've likely gone seven games, with the deciding game being favored for the Panthers. After all, it's tough to repeat as the defending champion in any sport, whether it's hockey, baseball, or anything else. There were underlying questions about whether this Golden Knights team could even return to the championship round, after all.

Now there are plenty of games left in the Stanley Cup Final. Overreactions after the first game aren't warranted, especially when the other team has Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. However, it can't hurt to imagine how last season's Western Conference champion would've fared against Florida.