Vegas Golden Knights capture first Stanley Cup in franchise history
Vegas’ run was highlighted by several outstanding performances, including Jonathan Marchessault, who was named the Conn Smythe Trophy winner.
Feature photo: Getty Images
The Vegas Golden Knights are the 2023 Stanley Cup champions after defeating the Florida Panthers 9-3 in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final.
Making their second Cup Final appearance since the franchise’s inaugural 2017-18 season, Vegas took Game 1 by a 5-2 count, following it up with an authoritative 7-2 victory before heading to Florida for the next two contests. Florida rallied to take Game 3 courtesy of a 3-2 OT win, but then fell to Vegas by the same score (in regulation) in Game 4.
In Game 5, Mark Stone opened the scoring with a first period shorthanded tally. Less than two minutes later, Nicolas Hague doubled the Golden Knights’ lead.
Panthers blueliner Aaron Ekblad trimmed Vegas’ lead to 2-1 two minutes into the second frame. The Golden Knights then netted four unanswered goals. Alec Martinez started the scoring parade, followed by Reilly Smith and another from Stone, before Michael Amadio capped things off with two seconds left in the second period to give Vegas a 6-1 lead heading into the third. Ivan Barbashev, Stone (the first player to net a Stanley Cup Final hat trick since Peter Forsberg in 1996) and Nicolas Roy scored for Vegas, while Sam Reinhart and Sam Bennett tallied for Florida to make the final 9-3. Amidst the scoring onslaught, Jack Eichel and Shea Theodore each chipped in three assists.
Vegas bested Winnipeg 4-1 in the First Round, then ousted Edmonton in six games in the Second Round before earning a six-game victory over Dallas to punch their ticket to the championship.
After falling to the Washington Capitals in the 2018 Stanley Cup final, the Golden Knights became just the seventh franchise in NHL history to require six or fewer seasons to win their first Stanley Cup.
This year’s run to the championship was preceded by back-to-back trips to the Western Conference Final in 2020 and 2021. Last year, the Golden Knights failed to make the postseason cut.
Vegas’ run to Cup glory was highlighted by several other outstanding individual performances, including Jonathan Marchessault, who was named the Conn Smythe Trophy winner. The undrafted 32-year-old notched 25 points, and tied for the postseason lead in goals (13) en route to his playoff MVP honours. Marchessault was also one of six original Golden Knights players on the Cup-winning team, along with William Carrier, William Karlsson, Brayden McNabb, Reilly Smith and Shea Theodore.
Stone, who was named Golden Knights’ first captain in franchise history on January 13, 2021, became the first player since 1928 (Bill Cook, New York Rangers) to be named the first-ever captain for an NHL franchise and don the “C” when the club won its first Stanley Cup.
Adin Hill became the first goaltender in NHL history to earn 10 wins (he won 11 total) in a single postseason after not playing in the team’s opening round. His nine victories entering Game 5 were already record-setting, with one more than the next closest (Michael Leighton: 8 in 2010 with Philadelphia).
Congratulations to the Vegas Golden Knights – the 2023 Stanley Cup champions.