The Vegas Golden Knights have been crowned the 2022-23 Stanley Cup Champions after defeating the Florida Panthers 9-3 in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Vegas won the series 4-1 and now has their first Stanley Cup Championship in franchise history.
Nine goals is the most goals scored by Vegas in both the regular season or the postseason. Vegas is also the seventh team in NHL history to score at least five or more goals in at least three or more games during the Stanley Cup Finals.
As he has done countless times during this postseason, goaltender Adin Hill had himself another performance for the ages between the pipes for the home team. Hill saved 32 of the 35 shots he faced for a final save percentage of .914.
Hill is the only goaltender in NHL history to win at least 10 games in a single-postseason after not starting a game in the opening round.
The Vegas goaltender was able to put this type of performance on in front of 19,058 fans inside T-Mobile Arena, the largest crowd in franchise history.
Vegas put together a masterful second period where they outscored Florida 4-1 to race out to a 6-1 lead heading into the final 20 minutes of the season. This second period came after the Knights tacked on two goals in the first period to set a 2-0 lead after the opening 20 minutes of play.
Vegas was led by their captain Mark Stone who captured a series-clinching hat trick performance. These three goals were Stone’s ninth, 10th, and 11th goals of the playoffs and gave him a total of 24 points for the playoffs (11 goals, 13 assists).
The first of these three goals came shorthanded as Stone joined center William Karlsson as the only two VGK players with multiple career playoff shorthanded goals.
Stone led the team in points scored for the Cup Finals and was the only player to score at least one point in each of the five games.
Coming into these playoffs, Stone had recently returned from a back injury that forced him to miss a considerable amount of the season and even led to questions about Stone’s future.
Right-winger and now Conn Smythe winner Jonathan Marchessault finished his season with a 10-game point streak and finished the 2023 playoffs with 13 goals scored and 12 assists for a final point total of 25. The Conn Smythe trophy is awarded to the Most Valuable Player during a team's run through the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Marchessault is one of the original members of the Golden Knights that was part of the 2017-18 team that made its initial appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Marchessault led the team in goals scored for the playoffs and was second in scoring for total points scored for the postseason run.
Speaking of original members of the Golden Knights, head coach Bruce Cassidy elected to start a line of all-original “Golden Misfits.”
This decision proved to be a good one as right-winger Reilly Smith lit the lamp as part of VGK’s four-goal outbursts in the second.
At one point during the season, the second period was statistically the worst for the Golden Knights as they were being drastically outscored by their opposition. Tuesday night, it was arguably the best period they have played all season.
The second period storyline goes far beyond Tuesday night’s performance. Vegas wrapped up the 2023 playoffs outsourcing their opponents 35-10 in the second period.
The first half of this season for the Golden Knights was a roller coaster ride to say the least. The team started out the Bruce Cassidy era 14-2 which included a nine-game winning streak.
A portion of the year that many VGK fans and personnel have forgotten about was the middle portion of the year where they went into the all-star break having lost seven of their last eight games before the break.
It was at that point that the season changed. The switch was flipped. Vegas put together a second half of hockey that awarded them the top spot in the Western Conference and gave them their third division title in the team’s six years of existence.
All of VGK’s momentum carried them through each round of the playoffs which included a second Western Conference Finals Championship, something that had not been accomplished since the team’s inaugural season in 2017-18.