The Golden Knights delivered their city a true Vegas-style party from dazzling passes to Mark Stone’s hat trick to all-out goal celebrations, capturing the young organization’s first Stanley Cup with a 9-3 romp over the beaten up and exhausted Florida Panthers on Tuesday night.
Coach Bruce Cassidy, in a nod to the Knights’ brief history, started five of the original Vegas players known as the Misfits and put the sixth on the second shift. Cassidy sounded confident the day before the game that his team would play well, and it certainly did, blowing open a one-goal game in the second period to lead 6-1.
Vegas closed out the best-of-seven series in five games to win the Cup before a delirious franchise-record crowd of 19,058 at T-Mobile Arena that drowned out the pre-game introductions of forward Jonathan Marchessault and goalie Adin Hill and cheered all the way through the final buzzer.
Stone’s hat trick — with the third into an empty net with 5:54 left — was the first in a Stanley Cup final since Colorado’s Peter Forsberg in 1996, also against the Panthers.
The Knights got the rest of their scoring from Nic Hague, Alec Martinez, Reilly Smith, Michael Amadio, Ivan Barbashev and Nicolas Roy. Martinez’s goal in the second period came nine years to the day after he delivered the double-overtime goal in Game 5 to give the Los Angeles Kings’ the Cup.
Hill came through with another strong performance that has quickly made him a Knights fan favourite, even earning “MVP! MVP!” chants in the third period. Jack Eichel, the eight-year pro playing in his first post-season, had three assists.