Hill, Vegas Golden Knights Take Game 1 Against Florida Panthers 5-2

Adin Hill #33, Vegas Golden Knights, Florida Panthers, Stanley Cup Final (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Adin Hill #33, Vegas Golden Knights, Florida Panthers, Stanley Cup Final (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

The Vegas Golden Knights used a big third period and goaltender Adin Hill stopped 32 of 34 shots to grab a 1-0 SCF lead in a 5-2 win against the Florida Panthers, Vegas defenseman Zach Whitecloud scored the game winning goal, while both Jack Eichel and Shea Theodore produced two points each. Hill improved his playoff record to 8-3 with a 2.06 GAA and a .938 save percentage.

The Vegas Golden Knights were relentless in third period over Florida Panthers

Vegas takes game 1 on big third period

The Golden Knights broke open a close game with three third period goals. Florida was sloppy in their own end, causing Vegas to take advantage of those turnovers. Vegas, the more playoff experienced team, played their game and waited for Florida to make mistakes. Whitecloud, Mark Stone, and Reilly Smith took control of scoring chances to put this one away for Vegas. The Golden Knights put 13 shots on the net, most of them good scoring chances. Vegas also kept the puck in the zone, putting pressure on the Panthers defense, keeping them on the ice for long periods of time.

Golden Knights use 200 foot game to down Florida

Vegas controlled aspects of the game that Florida did not and it cost the Panthers. Vegas played well in all three zones, as well as controlling the small parts of the game. Vegas had the better face off percentage (53% to 47%), power play (2/7), and blocks (16 to 11). Those face off wins played a big part in some of the Vegas goals and the power play execution was able to be successful because they had time to set up and the passing. The blocks helped the defense and Hill kept the puck out of the net and controlled the defensive zone. The neutral zone for Florida became non-existent as the game went on as the Vegas Golden Knights clogged up that part of the ice.

Physical third period sets the tone for game 2?

After Stone scored in the third period to give the Golden Knights a 4-2 lead, things got chippy. MIsconducts to Vegas Golden Knights forward Chandler Stephenson and Florida Panthers Sam Bennett, Matthew Tkachuk, and Radko Gudas set the tone for the rest of the period as both teams would not back down from physical play.Bennett received 12 penalty minutes, Tkachuk 14, Gudas 10, and Stephenson 12. Stanley Cup Final play is one of physical play but one has to wonder if the coaches warn their rosters to stay away from  retaliatory penalties. Both of these teams play a physical style of game and with the Cup on the line anything goes. This could be something to watch the longer this series goes.