Golden Knights rout Panthers to take 2-0 lead in Stanley Cup Final

By Sports Desk June 05, 2023

Jonathan Marchessault had two goals and an assist and the Vegas Golden Knights put on another dominant performance en route to a 7-2 rout of the Florida Panthers in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday.

Brett Howden also scored two goals as Vegas took a commanding 2-0 series lead and moved within two victories of the franchise's first Stanley Cup title. Four other Golden Knights players finished with two points as the Western Conference regular-season champions recorded at least five goals in a third straight game, a stretch in which they've outscored their opponents by a whopping 18-4 margin.

Vegas also cooled off one of the NHL's hottest goaltenders of this postseason for a second consecutive game, as Florida's Sergei Bobrovsky was pulled 7:10 into the second period after yielding four goals on 13 shots.

Bobrovsky entered this series having won 11 of his last 12 starts while compiling a stellar 1.95 goals-against average and .942 save percentage over that time frame.

The Knights got to Bobrovsky early in Game 2 as Marchessault scored on a power play 7:05 in. The forward picked up an assist later in the period on Alec Martinez's goal that staked Vegas to a 2-0 lead entering the first intermission.

Nicolas Roy extended the margin to 3-0 when he beat Bobrovsky less than three minutes into the second period. Howden then scored his first of the night just over four minutes later to chase the Panthers netminder.

Anton Lundell got Florida on the board just 14 seconds into the third period, but Marchessault answered with his 12th goal of this postseason - a Vegas franchise record - to push the lead to 5-1 with just over two minutes elapsed in the session.

Michael Amadio put Vegas up by five goals midway through the third. Florida's Matthew Tkachuk responded with his team-leading 10th goal of the postseason just over two minutes later before Howden closed out the scoring with a power-play goal with 2:08 remaining.

Adin Hill finished with 29 saves for Vegas, which will try to maintain its momentum when the series shifts to Florida for Thursday's Game 3.

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    Sam Reinhart and Aleksander Barkov each had a goal and an assist and the Florida Panthers held on for a 4-3 victory over the Edmonton Oilers to take a 3-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Final on Thursday night.

    Vladimir Tarasenko and Sam Bennett also scored for the Panthers, who can wrap up the franchise’s first Stanley Cup title in Game 4 in Edmonton on Saturday night.

    Florida carried a 4-1 lead into the third period, but Philip Broberg scored at 6:02 and Ryan McLeod made it a one-goal game with 5:17 remaining.

    The Oilers, however, could not beat Sergei Bobrovsky again and now face the daunting task of trying to win four straight games to bring the Stanley Cup back to Canada for the first time since 1993 – months before the Panthers’ inaugural season.

    Only four teams in league playoff history (1975 New York Islanders, 2010 Philadelphia Flyers and 2014 Los Angeles Kings) have won a series after losing the first three games and only once in the final (1942 Toronto Maple Leafs).

    Bobrovsky finished with 32 saves to win his sixth straight start. He allowed more than two goals for the first time during that span.

    The Panthers showed no ill effects from waiting to fly from South Florida to Alberta, a decision that was questioned when their plane was delayed by storms and got in a few hours late Wednesday – less than 24 hours before puck drop.

  • Panthers take 2-0 lead in Stanley Cup Final Panthers take 2-0 lead in Stanley Cup Final

    Evan Rodrigues had two of three Florida Panthers goals in the third period as the Eastern Conference champions took a 2-0 lead on the Edmonton Oilers in the Stanley Cup Final with Monday's 4-1 win.

    Niko Mikkola also scored and Aaron Ekblad had a game-sealing empty-net goal in the final minutes as the Panthers moved two wins away from the franchise's first Stanley Cup title.

    They did so by keeping Connor McDavid and Edmonton's high-powered offence in check for a second straight meeting. After being dealt a 3-0 loss in Saturday's opener of the best-of-seven series, the Oilers managed just seven shots on goal over the first two periods of Game 2 and 19 for the night.

    Florida did sustain a key injury in Game 2, however, as captain and top-line centre Aleksandar Barkov did not return after taking an elbow to the head from Edmonton's Leon Draisaitl midway through the third period. 

    Mattias Ekholm recorded the lone goal for the Oilers, who will attempt to reverse momentum on home ice when the series shifts to Edmonton for Thursday's Game 3.

    Despite Florida owning a 22-7 shot advantage through the first two periods, the teams were locked in a 1-1 tie until Rodrigues stole an attempted clearing pass from Edmonton's Evan Bouchard in the Oilers' end and whistled a shot past goaltender Stuart Skinner 3:11 into the third.

    Rodrigues struck again on the power play created by Draisaitl's roughing penalty on Barkov with 9:28 remaining, as he redirected a pass from Anton Lundell into the Edmonton net for a 3-1 Florida lead with 7:34 left.

    Oilers coach Kris Knoblauch pulled Skinner for an extra attacker with under seven minutes to go, and the move gave Edmonton essentially a two-man advantage when Florida defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson received a delay of game penalty for shooting the puck into the stands with less than five minutes remaining.

    The Panthers killed off the infraction, however, then ended any hopes of an Edmonton comeback when Ekblad scored into the vacant net with 2:28 left to play.

    Florida had the game's first prime scoring opportunity when Oilers forward Warren Foegele received a five-minute major penalty and an ejection for a knee-to-knee hit on the Panthers' Eetu Luostarinen midway through the first period.

    The Panthers couldn't capitalise, however, and the sides were soon 4-on-4 when Ekman-Larsson was called for tripping during the extended power play.

    Just 19 seconds after Ekman-Larsson was sent off, Ekholm's shot on a 2-on-1 rush evaded Florida netminder Sergei Bobrovsky to put Edmonton up 1-0 with 8:43 remaining in the opening period.

    Florida drew even midway through the second period when Mikkola fired a drop pass from Lundell past Skinner.

    Bobrovsky finished with 18 saves, while Skinner stopped 25 of 28 shots.

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    Sergei Bobrovsky continued his red-hot play with 32 saves and Carter Verhaeghe and Evan Rodrigues scored to lift the Florida Panthers to a 3-0 victory over the Edmonton Oilers in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday night.

    Bobrovsky was the story as the Oilers outshot the Panthers 32-17. He turned in one of the most memorable playoff goaltending performances in recent history, denying multiple breakaways and even managed to make saves without his stick for 30 seconds.

    Over his last four playoff games, the 35-year-old Bobrovsky has stopped 101 of 106 shots for a .953 save percentage.

    Three-time MVP Connor McDavid, who leads all scorers in the postseason with 31 points, led all skaters with six shots but couldn’t beat the Russian goaltender.

    Thanks to him, the Panthers have a lead in the Cup final for the first time in franchise history and are three wins away from their first championship.

    Eetu Luostarinen scored into an empty net with five seconds remaining, but that insurance goal was hardly needed the way Bobrovsky played.

    Game 2 is Tuesday in Florida.

    The goals by Verhaeghe and Rodriguez came on the first five shots against Edmonton’s Stuart Skinner, who wasn't to blame for either one.  

    The Oilers were shut out in the playoffs for the first time since June 2, 2022, against Colorado.

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