No one had expected the run the Vegas Golden Knights would make in their inaugural season back in 2018. An expansion team making history by becoming the first expansion team to make the Stanley Cup Final in their first season. However, they came up short and lost in six games to the Washington Capitals.
Well now just five seasons later, Vegas has made a bit more history by becoming the fastest expansion team to win a Cup as they took down the Florida Panthers in five games, winning the decisive game five 9-3 at home at T-Mobile Arena.
"I can't even describe the feelings in my stomach right now," captain Mark Stone said to Darren Pang on TNT. "The grind of an 82 game season, four playoff rounds you grind and at the end of the day you are the last team standing it's incredible."
Stone scored the first hat trick in a Cup Final game since Peter Forsberg did with the Avalanche agaisnt the Florida Panthers in game two of the 1996 Cup Final. Jack Eichel would also add in three assists, while Reily Smith finished with a goal and an assist.
Meanwhile for the Panthers, Sam Bennett and Sam Reinhart were the only players with more than one point as the pair would collect with a goal and an assist each.
Marchessault wins Conn Smythe trophy
After finishing the playoffs first in goals, and game winning goals for Vegas, Jonathan Marchessault was named as the playoff MVP by winning the Conn Smythe trophy. Marchessault was a member of the original 2018 Golden Knights Cup team.
The former Florida Panther joins some elite company, becoming the first undrafted player since the "Great One," Wayne Gretzky to be named as the Conn Smythe winner.
"It's a pain that you can't describe (losing in 2018) and that's the feeling we have right now, that pain was tough, it takes a full year to get over it because you are so close and so far," Marchessault said to Jackie Redmond of TNT. "Look where we are right now, our team has been unbelievable and were winners."
A Dominant Second Period
After Aaron Ekblad got the Panthers back into the game but cutting the lead to just one with 17:45 left in the second period, the Knights took over.
Vegas scored four goals in a row, starting with now two time Stanley Cup Champion Alec Martinez from the right face-off dot, beating Sergei Brobrovsky's stick at the top left corner of the net.
Winger Reily Smith would follow that up a minute and 45 seconds later after Brobrovsky couldn't corral the rebound and Smith was able to clean up the mess for Vegas to put them up 4-1. Then Stone scored his second goal of the game on a one-timer with a feed from Chandler Stephenson and Brett Howden thanks to a three-on-two break.
Then to add insult to injury, Micheal Amadio would score with two seconds left in the period to ballon the lead all the way up to 6-1 in favor of the Knights.
Vegas finishes the postseason outscoring teams 36-11 in the second period
Standing on his Hill
Adin has been fantastic since stepping in to the lineup for the injured Laurent Brossoit and Logan Thompson. Throughout this entire playoff run Hill has put up insane numbers of 2.11 goals agaisnt average and a save percentage of .934%. That run continued into game five as well.
Hill stood on his head time and time again while the game was close making some nasty saves throughout this game. The former Arizona Coyote net-minder made 26 saves on 28 Florida shots to win his first ever Stanley Cup.
The Florida Panthers and the Stanley Cup Final have not always been kind to each other. Despite winning their first Cup Final game in franchise history in game four, it has been a ugly history.
After this loss, the Panthers now hold the second worst Cup Final loss in NHL history in a clinching game with a six goal difference. Florida is also tied for the most and second most goals allowed in a Stanley Cup Final game with nine and eight goals.
Lastly, Florida also is now tied for the second and third worst losses in a single Stanley Cup Final game in history with an 8-1 loss to Colorado in 1996 and now to Vegas in 2023.