OAN’s Noah Herring
10:58 AM – Wednesday, June 14, 2023
The Las Vegas Golden Knights defeated the Florida Panthers in a heated game five win to secure their first Stanley Cup in their franchise’s history.
In the 9-3 win, Vegas captain Mark Stone scored a goal in each of the three periods. The 31-year-old became the first player since 1992 to score a hat trick in a game that clinched the Stanley Cup, according to the NHL.
The Golden Knights won the title in their sixth year as an organization, operating as the NHL’s second youngest franchise.
“I can’t even describe the feelings in my stomach right now. Everything you can imagine,” said Stone. “The grind of an 82-game season, four playoff rounds, you grind and you grind and you grind. At the end of the day, we’re the last team standing. It’s incredible.”
Forward Jonathan Marchessault, who scored 25 goals in the post-season, was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the “Most Valuable Player” in the playoffs.
Las Vegas was selected as a site for an expansion to the NHL in June 2016. In their 2017-2018 debut season, the team remarkably reached the Stanley Cup Finals, but they ended up losing to the Washington Capitals in five games.
Five years later, the Golden Knights put themselves back in a position to win the whole thing. Vegas was able to win their first two games at home, splitting the next two in Florida.
Following the first three games, the Panthers faced a massive hurdle as 36 of 37 teams who have had a 3-1 lead in a best-of-seven Stanley Cup Final have ended up winning.
In their game on Tuesday, Vegas pushed to an early lead scoring two goals just past the midway point in the first period, thanks to back to back goals by Stone and Nicolas Hague.
The Panthers responded with a goal of their own early in the second period, but Vegas shut down any chance of a comeback with four goals in nine and a half minutes. Another goal was scored by Vegas as the crowd chanted “We want the Cup!”
“What has happened here has been simply incredible,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, as he presented the Stanley Cup to Stone. “Not only is Vegas a hockey town, it’s a championship town.”
The Golden Knights owner, Bill Foley, successfully accomplished his prediction of winning the Stanley Cup in the team’s first six seasons.
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