Posted on: June 4, 2023, 11:44h.
Last updated on: June 4, 2023, 11:45h.
The Vegas Golden Knights scored three goals in the third period to defeat the Florida Panthers, 5-2, in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Golden Knights successfully defended their home ice at T-Mobile Arena, and jumped out to a 1-0 series lead.
In their inaugural season as an expansion team, the Golden Knights reached the 2018 Stanley Cup Finals, but they were smoked by the Washington Capitals. In their second appearance in the finals, the Golden Knights did not squander the rare opportunity to win a championship. They seized control of the series with an opening-game victory.
Before the finals began, oddsmakers at DraftKings installed the Golden Knights as the betting favorite to win the Stanley Cup at -130 odds. The red-hot Panthers claimed the Eastern Conference Crown, but were only +110 odds as a slight underdog.
The Golden Knights are now -220 odds to win the Stanley Cup, and the Panthers slipped to +180 odds after dropping Game 1.
Game 2 is scheduled for Monday night in Las Vegas.
Ninth Comeback for Vegas
The Golden Knights won 13 games in the postseason, and nine of them were come-from-behind victories.
The Panthers struck first blood, and went up 1-0 early in the opening game of the Stanley Cup Finals. Forward Eric Staal put the Panthers on the board midway through the first period with a short-handed goal.
Right winger Jonathan Marchessault scored an equalizer late in the period to tie the game at 1-0. He was shut out in the first seven games of the postseason, but he’s been on fire since then scoring goals in ten out his last 11 playoff games.
Defenseman Shea Theodore put the Golden Knights ahead with a wrister midway through the second period. The Panthers tied the score at 2-2 with an unassisted goal by Anthony Duclair with 11 seconds remaining in the period.
It was an unfortunate bounce there at the end of the second, but still thought we had played a pretty solid second period there and started to gain some momentum,” said Golden Knights captain Mark Stone.
“They had earned some really good opportunities,” said Golden Knights head coach Bruce Cassidy. “We gave up a late goal, but I rather it then than at the start of the third.”
Filthy stuff from Shea Theodore to set up a Vegas lead! 😮💨 pic.twitter.com/PFa44ahC1m
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) June 4, 2023
Golden Knights Score Thrice in Third Period
Defenseman Zach Whitecloud scored seven minutes into the third period, to put the Golden Knights ahead 3-2. In the first 17 games of the playoffs, Vegas’ defensemen scored only three goals. In the first game of the finals, defensive players scored two goals.
The game opened up a little bit,” said Panthers head coach Paul Maurice. “We were all right with that too, but we don’t mind the rush a little bit at times.”
Stone found the back of the net with a little more than six minutes remaining and extended the lead 4-2. Right winger Reilly Smith added a late goal and the Golden Knights locked up Game 1 with a 5-2 victory. For the ninth time in the NHL playoffs, the Golden Knights rallied to secure a victory.
Goalie Adin Hill was a stonewall for the Golden Knights in the third period. Hill finished the game with 33 saves, including one phenomenal stick save in the second period that might’ve been his top highlight of the playoffs.
“It was just one of those nights, the emotion was in the building and everyone was caught up in a little bit,” said Cassidy. “Thank God that Hill was nice and calm.”
Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky won five games in a row, before the Golden Knights lit him up for five goals in Game 1. Bobrovsky suffered his first loss on the road this postseason, and the Golden Knights halted his seven-game road winning streak.
The Golden Knights kept winger Matthew Tkachuk in check in Game 1. They harassed him all night and limited the star to just two shots. The Panthers’ postseason MVP scored nine goals with 12 assists in 17 games prior to the Finals. He tallied 40 goals and 69 assists in the regular season.
WHAT A SAVE BY ADIN HILL 🚫😱 pic.twitter.com/fFdnZCaoj9
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 4, 2023
Stanley Cup Finals Prop Bets: Series Score
If you want to back the Golden Knights to sweep the Panthers, that prop bet pays +600 at DraftKings. Sweeps are rare in the modern NHL, and there has not been a 4-0 sweep in the Stanley Cup Finals in 25 years since the mighty Detroit Red Wings won back-to-back championships in 1997 and 1998.
At the end of the 1990s, four consecutive champions swept their opponents. It began with the New Jersey Devils sweeping the Detroit Red Wings in 1995.
The first and only time the Panthers reached the Stanley Cup Finals, they were swept by the Colorado Avalanche in 1996.
The Red Wings swept the Philadelphia Flyers in 1997, and won back-to-back titles with a 4-0 sweep against the Washington Capitals in 1998.
You can back the Golden Knights to win the Stanley Cup in five games, or 4-1 series score, at +350 odds. The Golden Knights prevailing in six games, or 4-2, pays +400 odds. If the series goes a full seven games, and the Vegas Knights win 4-3, that prop bet pays out +425 odds.
Prop bets on the Panthers to win the series pay out a little higher after they lost Game 1. The Panthers winning the Stanley Cup in seven games, or a 4-3 series score, pays out +550 odds. A Panthers’ championship in six games, or 4-2, pays out +600.
If you think the Panthers can win the next four games in a row, that prop bet pays out +1300 odds to win the series in five games and a 4-1 series score.
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