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FSM Essential Recap: Golden Knights vs Panthers – Game 1 – 2023

Franchise Sports Media

Vegas Golden Knights (13-5) vs Florida Panthers  (12-5)


The Vegas Golden Knights top the Florida Panthers 5-2 and take a 1-0 series lead in the Stanley Cup Final.  

It is game 1 of the Golden Knights vs Panthers series. 

Golden Knights vs Panthers Adin Hill
Photo Credit: John Locher/AP

The city of Las Vegas fired up for Game One of the Stanley Cup Final, and Vegas fans had a right to be. It’s been five years since the Golden Knights’ last appearance. This year, Vegas wants a different outcome, and it started off the right way as they defeated the Florida Panthers 5-2 to take a 1-0 series lead. 

With a total team effort and a fantastic performance from Vegas goaltender Adin Hill the Golden Knights have already set the tone and hope to keep it throughout the series.

“It feels awesome,” Hill said. “We’re three away. Our job is not finished. You know Florida is going to have a push in Game 2. I thought we played a great game tonight, so it’s kind of rinse and repeat.”

The Panthers scored first, but Vegas remained calm and disciplined. That was pretty much the mindset the Golden Knights kept throughout the game.

“We were ready,” Jonathan Marchessault said.

Vegas was indeed ready, Zach Whitecloud, Mark Stone, Shae Theodore, and Jonathan Marchessault each scored a goal, and Jack Eichel had two assists.

“We just wanted to play the right way and be disciplined, and tonight we were able to be the better team,” said Marchessault. 

The Panthers, at times, had Vegas on the ropes, but their effort was not enough in the end. The Panthers will look to even up the series in Game Two on Monday.

But the advantage may be in the hands of the Golden Knights. Teams that take Game One of a best-of-7 Cup Final have gone on to win the series 75.9 percent of the time (63-20), including 83.3 percent when winning Game 1 at home (50-10).

“The losing team talks about too many of something, and the winning team talks about the fabulousness of all other things,” Florida coach Paul Maurice said. “Both teams make mistakes. We lost the first game in the Boston series (in the Eastern Conference First Round) and got a little better. Then we lost two more and got a little better. Everybody just [expletive] breathe.”

End of the first period in the Golden Knights vs Panthers series

Florida struck first, but Vegas answered back with a goal from Jonathan Marchessault to tie the game 1-1. 

The start of periods 2 and 3 in the Golden Knights vs Panthers series.

Golden Knights vs Panthers Mark Stone
Photo Credit: John Locher/AP

Jonathan Marchessault’s goal was his 10th goal of the playoffs which ties a franchise record with William Karlsson.

With the game tied 1-1 going into the second period, Adin Hill made the play of the game after diving using his stick to block a close goal from Nick Cousins. 

“That’s an unreal save – it’s a game-changer,” coach Bruce Cassidy said. “You need those saves at key moments.”

After Shae Theodore gave Vegas its first lead of the game, 2-1, the Panthers answered back with a goal from Anthony Duclair with 10.2 seconds left in the second period for a 2-2 tie.

“Yeah, we gave up a late goal, but I’d rather it then than at the start of the third, to be honest,” Cassidy said. “We have time to regroup and sort of say, ‘Settle down and get back to work.’ It was a good shot. I think it hit Whitecloud on the way in. But they generated some good looks, so it wasn’t like we played this perfect period, and it was demoralizing. For us, we do have a veteran group, and I think it showed going into the third, and I think it showed late in the game when we were able to keep our discipline and get to the finish line.”

In the third period, the Golden Knights took control. Zach Whitecloud gave Vegas the lead again, 3-2, after his shot from the point through traffic beat Florida goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky under his glove and above his left pad.

“Barbs’gave me the puck in a good spot,” Whitecloud said. “I was able to find a lane, and our forwards did a good job of creating a moving screen.”

Mark Stone put the game out of hands for the Panthers after he scored an unassisted goal to extend the lead 4-2.

Being up by two goals was not enough, as Reilly Smith scored an empty net goal for a 5-2 lead with two minutes left in the game. Adin Hill made another highlight play after stopping Sam Reinhart on a breakaway 22 seconds later.

“It’s a long series, lots of hockey ahead of us,” Bobrovsky said. “We play, we learn, and we move on.”

The Panthers need to regroup to make it a long series. For Game One, the Golden Knights controlled the tempo, and they believe this is key to making the series a short one and capturing their first-ever Stanley Cup championship.

The final score in game 1 of the Golden Knights vs Panthers series was 5-2, Vegas.

On Monday, the Golden Knights will play the Florida Panthers in Game Two of the Stanley Cup Final at T-Mobile Arena. The puck drop is at 5:00 PM. The game can be seen on AT&T SportsNet (channel 313 on Cox Cable) and TNT (channel 18 on Cox cable) or heard on 98.9 FM, FOX Sports Las Vegas 1340 AM.


– Jonathan Randall – Franchise Sports Media

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