The Florida Panthers got steamrolled 7-2 by the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 2 of the 2023 Stanley Cup Final at T-Mobile Arena.
Unlike Game 1, where a case could be made that the Cats could’ve possibly won, they had no absolutely chance in this one. Vegas looked stronger, faster, nastier, hungrier, and as advertised, a lot deeper.
Former Panther Jonathan Marchessault scored twice and added an assist; Brett Howden scored twice; and Alec Martinez, Nicolas Roy and Michael Amadio also lit the lamp for the Golden Knights.
Jack Eichel, who survived a monster second period hit from Matthew Tkachuk, had two assists for the second straight game.
By the time Anton Lundell scored his second career playoff goal 14 seconds into the final frame, Vegas had already put four on the board.
After Adin Hill denied Anthony Duclair, Lundell collected the rebound and fired a shot that pinballed in off of Alex Pietrangelo and Martinez.
Lundell puts the Cats on the board 14 seconds into the third but Vegas responds.
— AM 560 Sports WQAM (@560WQAM) June 6, 2023
Marchessault snuffed out any chance of a miraculous Florida comeback 1:56 later, by burying a centering feed from Eichel, who rag-dolled Josh Mahura in the corner to take possession of the puck.
The other Panthers goal came at 12:44 when Tkachuk slammed in the rebound of Sam Bennett’s shot for his 10th goal of the postseason. Mahura picked up the secondary assist on the play. Way too little, way too late.
Montour cashes in on Tkachuk's rebound. 💪 pic.twitter.com/EdzfsCTxIL
— Jameson Olive (@JamesonCoop) October 15, 2022
Whatever magic Sergei Bobrovsky had working during this run seems to have dissipated over the ten day break between the end of the Carolina series and the start of this series. Yes, the defense in front of has been pretty horrific, but Bobrovsky is back to playing too low in the net and Vegas is making him pay for it by going top shelf.
Bobrovksy was yanked 7:10 into the second after giving up four goals on nine shots. Alex Lyon mopped up and was beaten three times on 15 shots.
The Golden Knights are exposing all of the regular season warts the Panthers have done such a good job of overcoming during their run through the Eastern Conference bracket. Going by the last four periods of hockey we’ve seen, as of this morning, it’s hard for me to imagine this is going to be anything other than a sweep for Vegas. The Golden Knights look completely dialed in, while the Cats look lost, totally outclassed, and are skating around madly looking to dole out hits instead of playing effective hockey. It’s going to take a colossal readjustment to win Game 3 and make this a series.
Aces & Deuces
- First Star Jonathan Marchessault extended his point streak to seven games. Marchessault has scored in six of the seven games and has 12 goals in 12 games after not scoring in the first seven of the postseason.
- The Panthers failed on special teams again, going 0-for-4 with the man-advantage and allowing Vegas to score twice on the power play.
- Already missing Eetu Luostarinen, Radko Gudas exited the game early after playing just 2:11 and did not comeback after taking a big reverse hit from Ivan Barbashev.
- Twelve of the Golden Knights 18 skaters picked up at least a point in the game. Chandler Stephenson and William Carrier were the fourth and fifth players to have multi-point games with two assists each.
- Adin Hill was solid again, stopping 29 of 31 shots. Hill best work came late in the first period when he made five saves in a 28-second span during a Florida’s first power play.
- To read about the winning hand in Game 2, head on over to Knights On Ice.