NHL: Strong 3rd period lifts Knights over Panthers in Game 1


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Adin Hill made 33 saves and Zach Whitecloud scored the go-ahead goal to highlight a three-goal third period for the Vegas Golden Knights, who defeated the Florida Panthers 5-2 in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday night in Las Vegas.

Shea Theodore had a goal and an assist, Jack Eichel had two assists and Jonathan Marchessault, Mark Stone and Reilly Smith also scored for Vegas. Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Monday night in Las Vegas.

Eric Staal scored a short-handed goal and Anthony Duclair also scored for Florida, which had an eight-game road winning streak snapped. Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 29 of 33 shots.

The game was tied 2-2 entering the third period when Whitecloud fired a long wrist shot through traffic from inside the blue line past the glove of a screened Bobrovsky at the 6:59 mark.

Stone made it 4-2 with 6:19 remaining when he knocked down a clearing pass in the slot and then roofed a wrist shot into the top right corner of the net for his seventh goal of the playoffs. Smith added an empty-netter with 1:45 left to seal the win.

Florida, playing its first game in 10 days after sweeping the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference finals, didn’t show any rust in jumping out to a 1-0 lead 9:40 into the first period on Staal’s second goal of the playoffs.

The Panthers were killing a Nick Cousins penalty for roughing Hill during a scrum around the goal when Staal broke up the left wing and wrapped a shot around the left post and off the stick of a diving Hill.

Vegas tied it 1-1 at the 17:18 mark on a power-play goal by Marchessault. Chandler Stephenson set up the score with a backhand pass from along the boards. Marchessault was left alone in the slot, where he buried his 10th goal of the playoffs.

Florida had a chance to regain the lead early in the second period when Matthew Tkachuk found Cousins alone in the slot, but Hill, diving back toward the left post, stopped Cousins’ attempt at a wide-open net with the end of his stick by the goal line.

The Golden Knights then took a 2-1 lead at the 10:54 mark of the second when Theodore fired a wrist shot from above the circles. It was Theodore’s first goal of the postseason.

The Panthers tied it with 11 seconds left in the period when Aleksander Barkov pulled a faceoff in the right circle back to Duclair, who quickly ripped a wrist shot through Hill’s pads for his fourth goal of the playoffs.

–Field Level Media


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