The Vegas Golden Knights are winners! In a dazzling display of passes, Mark Stone’s hat trick, and exuberant goal celebrations, they clinched their first-ever Stanley Cup with a resounding 9-3 victory over the battered and fatigued Florida Panthers on Tuesday night. Vegas sealed the series victory in five games, triumphing before an ecstatic, franchise-record crowd of 19,058 at T-Mobile Arena.
Coach Bruce Cassidy’s confidence in his team’s abilities proved well-founded as they dominated the game, turning a one-goal lead into a commanding 6-1 advantage in the second period. The nine goals scored equaled the record for the most goals in a Cup Final. Jonathan Marchessault, who concluded the postseason with a remarkable 10-game points streak, was honored with the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP.
Addressing the crowd, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman acknowledged Vegas’ exceptional ability to throw a party, both inside and outside the arena, and praised the city as a great hockey market and a championship town.
The Knights have established a standard for what an expansion franchise should aspire to be, reaching the Cup Final in their inaugural season and making the playoffs in every season except one. Six players remain from the initial 2017-18 team that lost in five games to the Washington Capitals in the final. Having witnessed the Capitals’ celebration that night, those players finally had their turn to lift the Stanley Cup on Tuesday, fulfilling owner Bill Foley’s quest to win the championship within six years of the team’s establishment.