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VGK’s 7-goal outburst nets them 2-0 series lead

The saying “wash, rinse, repeat” held true for the Vegas Golden Knights Monday night as they replicated their Game 1 performance by defeating the Florida Panthers 7-2 in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Vegas now has a 2-0 series lead.

“I liked our game,” head coach Bruce Cassidy said. “Obviously, there’s still things that we know we can do better but at the end of the day, it was a good performance by us and our guys were ready to play.”

Vegas takes their 2-0 series lead on the road to Sunshine, Florida for Games 3 and 4 of this best-of-seven championship series. Game 3 is slated for 5 p.m. PST and can be seen on TNT nationwide.

When it comes to replicating performances from Game 1 to Game 2, look no further than Vegas goaltender Adin Hill. He saved 33 of 35 shots faced in Game 1 and then followed that performance up with making 29 saves on 31 shots faced for a final save percentage of .935 in the dominant victory.

“It’s probably been the most fun I’ve ever had playing hockey,” Hill said. “It’s been awesome to be a part of the journey with this team.”

While there has been exceptional goalie play on the Golden Knights side, it has been a struggle in net for the Panthers through the first two games of this series. This is now the second straight game that Florida has given up five or more goals.

In Game 2, Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky made 9 saves on 13 shots faced for a final save percentage of .692 before being replaced by backup Alex Lyon with just under 13 minutes to play in the second period. Lyon finished the game with 12 saves on 15 shots faced for a final save percentage of .800.

One of the storylines from Monday’s game is the hard hit that Panthers left-winger Matthew Tkachuk delivered on center Jack Eichel in the second period that sent Eichel to the locker room for the remainder of the period.

“He finishes a hard and what I thought was a clean check on me,” Eichel said. “It’s a physical game. You’re going to get hit sometimes. You’ve just got to move on.”

Eichel did return in the third period and recorded an assist on his first shift back by winning the puck battle on the board on a forecheck to feed an open Jonathan Marchessault.

Vegas scored the game’s first four goals through the first two periods of the game to help establish a tone early on, something that the Knights have struggled with in the past.

“We wanted to come out strong,” center Nicolas Roy said. “We knew they were going to have a push and I think we played really good in the first.”

Marchessault continued his stellar play in the playoffs as he lit the lamp twice in this one along with assisting on another goal to end the night with a three-point performance. He scored the first goal of the game and the first Vegas goal of the third period to establish a 5-1 lead with just under 18 minutes to go in regulation.

“Part of our game plan is we know we have depth,” Marchessault said. “We know that if we roll four lines and get a good forecheck, we’ll get rewarded. We’ve done a pretty good job so far but we’re still far away from our goal.”

All four lines for Vegas scored in this one along with getting scoring from defenseman Alec Martinez, the second straight game Vegas has gotten scoring from a defenseman.

Marchessault and left-winger Brett Howden led the way in goals scored with two goals scored each in Monday’s game.

“It’s been a lot of fun for all of us,” Howden said. “We’re just staying in the moment right now.”

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