Vegas Golden Knights win first Stanley Cup in team history
Photo credit:© Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports
By Cam Lewis3 months ago
The Vegas Golden Knights are Stanley Cup champions.
They pulled off a commanding 9-3 win over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday to finish off a dominant run to their first Stanley Cup in team history. Vegas breezed past the Winnipeg Jets in five games in the first round, they took down the Edmonton Oilers and the Dallas Stars in six games each to advance out of the Western Conference, and then they beat the Panthers in five games in the Final.
Jonathan Marchessault, one of the six remaining players from Vegas’ shocking run to the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural season back in 2017-18, was named the Conn Smythe Trophy winner for the most valuable player in the playoffs. He finished tied for the playoff lead in goals at 13 with Leon Draisaitl and he finished second in points behind teammate Jack Eichel with 25.
“We waited a long time for that moment to come back,” Marchessault said. “We wanted to make sure we cashed in this time.”
The six remaining “Misfits” from Vegas’ first team, Marchessault, Reilly Smith, William Karlsson, Brayden McNabb, Shea Theodore, and William Carrier, were the first players to be handed the Stanley Cup by captain Mark Stone.
“It means a lot to be able to do this with this group of guys,” said Smith, who scored what ended up being the game-winning goal in the second period. “Obviously, the team has changed a lot over six years, but our fan base hasn’t. It’s been pretty amazing. They’ve supported us since Day 1 and it’s really great to bring a championship to Las Vegas.”
This was an incredible turnaround for the Golden Knights, a team that wound up missing the playoffs last season despite massive expectations. Vegas fired head coach Pete DeBoer following last year’s letdown and replaced him with Bruce Cassidy, who led the Golden Knights to the first Stanley Cup of his coaching career.
“The rewarding part is seeing it all come together at the right time,” Cassidy said. “Every coach in this league works hard to prepare their team, puts in a lot of time and effort, sacrifice away from your family at times, so, that’s the rewarding part. And then to get your name on the Cup is the ultimate reward.”
From the perspective of the Edmonton Oilers, this is the second consecutive year in which the team that knocked them out of the playoffs went on to win the Stanley Cup. Last year, they were swept by the Colorado Avalanche in the Western Conference Final and the Avs beat the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Cup Final.
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