The Vegas Golden Knights (51-22-9, 25-15-1 home) look to take a 2-0 lead in the NHL Stanley Cup Finals against the Florida Panthers (42-32-8, 19-19-3 away) on Monday night. Vegas scored a trio of goals in the third period of the series opener to take Game 1, 5-2.
Game 2 starts at 8 p.m. EST inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Golden Knights are the betting favorite (-140 moneyline), while the over/under is set at 5.5 goals.
What to Know – Florida Panthers
Florida scored the opening goal of the series on Saturday night, and it looked for a while like the Panthers were going to continue the magical run they’ve had throughout the postseason. The magic ran out later in the contest, and the momentum of a historic playoff run ran out.
The Panthers are scoring 3.06 goals per game over 17 postseason contests with a 9.6% shooting and 26.1% power play percentage.
Defensively, Florida surrenders 2.82 goals per game and is saving .927 percent of shots.
Eric Staal got the Panthers on the board on Saturday with his second goal of the postseason. The shorthanded score was assisted by Anton Lundell. Anthony Duclair tied it up in the second period on an unassisted score. Matthew Tkachuk continues to lead the Panthers’ offense with 21 (nine goals, 12 assists) postseason points.
Sergi Bobrovsky has been stellar during the playoffs, but it wasn’t his night in the Stanley Cup Finals opener. The veteran goalie recorded his second-lowest save percentage of the postseason, stopping 29 of 33 shot attempts, much lower than his .931 save percentage during the playoffs.
What to Know – Vegas Golden Knights
Vegas flexed their muscles in the opener even after falling behind early in the first period. The Golden Knights tied it up later in the first and took the lead in the second before opening up the game with two goals in the third before adding an empty netter with under two minutes to play.
On offense, Vegas has been one of the best in the postseason averaging 3.72 goals per game, nearly half a goal better than the regular season.
The Golden Knights sport a 12.3% save and 19.7% power play percentage. The goaltending for Vegas is surrendering 2.61 goals per game, backed by a .921 save percentage.
Jonathan Marchessault tied the game up in the first with his tenth goal of the postseason, tying William Karlsson for most on the team. Shea Theodore gave Vegas the lead midway through the second period with his first goal of the playoffs. Zach Whitecloud, Mark Stone, and Reilly Smith added scores during the final period.
Adin Hill got the start between the posts and saved 33 of 35 shots on goal. Hill has split time this postseason with Laurent Brossoit but continues to be the preferred goalie for the Golden Knights. The 27-year-old is allowing just 2.06 goals per contest.
The Pick is In
Vegas didn’t let an early deficit phase them and used their roster depth to pull away from the Panthers late. Florida has been an excellent story in the playoffs, but the Golden Knights are just too talented to lose to the Panthers at home.
The Pick: Las Vegas Golden Knights ML