The Vegas Golden Knights are the 2023 Western Conference champions, and beginning on Saturday, they will compete for the first Stanley Cup championship in franchise history.
This 2023 edition of the Stanley Cup Final will be the Golden Knights’ second appearance in the championship series. Their first, a five-game defeat at the hands of the Washington Capitals, came in their first season in 2018. This time around, Vegas is hoping for a different result.
The Golden Knights come in as the top seed in the West, so their presence in this series should not be unexpected. Here are three reasons that Vegas will be the 2023 Stanley Cup champion.
What gives the Golden Knights the edge in the Stanley Cup Final?
When I look at Conn Smythe Trophy candidates, it’s difficult to select one or two players from the Golden Knights. That doesn’t mean that no one is playing well for Vegas, though. Instead, it speaks to how many players have been critical to its success.
The West champions have gotten production throughout the lineup, which is exactly what a team wants in the Stanley Cup Final. There is no shortage of players that could emerge as the hero in the Final, and that makes the Golden Knights dangerous.
Neither the Golden Knights nor the Florida Panthers have won the Stanley Cup before, but there are a variety of players in this series that already have their names on the NHL’s championship trophy. It just so happens that Vegas has significantly more.
Ivan Barbashev, Alex Pietrangelo, Chandler Stephenson, Phil Kessel, Alec Martinez, and Jonathan Quick have all raised the Cup with other teams. On the other side, only Carter Verhaeghe and Eric Staal have won before. That could make a big difference in this series.
Having a hot goaltender in the Stanley Cup Final is important, and the Golden Knights have found their guy. Adin Hill was not tasked with manning the crease when the playoffs began, but he has been stellar since coming in for his team.
In 11 games, Hill has a .937 save percentage and a 2.07 goals against average. He is 7-3 since taking over. Everyone knows just how good Sergei Bobrovsky has been for the Panthers, so the Golden Knights will need Hill to bring his A-game if they want to win in this series.
This matchup between the Golden Knights and Panthers is sure to be a good one. It all starts on Saturday night on TNT.