TheVegas Golden Knights used their experience in the third period and put Game 1 to rest with a 5-2 win over the Florida Panthers. The game was close until the third period when the Panthers had too many turnovers that cost them. The Golden Knights would love to win both games at home to begin the series but the Panthers may have other plans. Game 2 is Monday night at 8 p.m. at the T-Mobile arena in Vegas.
The Vegas Golden Knights look to go up 2-0 in the series
Vegas had too much room in the third period
Coming into the final period, Vegas did not have many good looks at the Florida net despite a 2-2 tie. That changes in the final frame as Vegas connected on their scoring chances. The difference was Florida gave the Golden Knights too much room and respect. Vegas is a top tier team with loads of talent that can hurt you. They become more dangerous if they are given time and space to work with, which is what the Panthers gave them. Vegas defenseman Shea Theodore got the puck inside the blueline and was able to skate in and fire a shot from between the faceoff dots, resulting in a goal. Those things cannot happen from Florida and their defense. There were also chances that did not result in a goal in that Vegas was given plenty of room to maneuver in their offensive zone without being touched. Florida has to tighten up in their defensive zone or this could be a long series for the Panthers.
Florida needs to play a physical game
The Panthers have been a gritty, physical team all season.They play within the rules and let the opposition know they are there. Until midway through the third, the Panthers did not use that skill enough against Vegas. Aside from tightening up defensively, the Panthers need to get a talented team like Vegas off of their game. Physical play and scrums within the rules can get into the heads of the Vegas players, letting them know this series will be a fight. Panthers forward Matthew Tkachuk could use this style of play to his advantage, as he did in the third period of game 1.
Vegas defense getting involved in the offense
From the first puck drop of game 1, the Vegas defense was involved in most of the offensive chances for the Golden Knights. Stretch passes, carrying the puck behind the net, moving in from the blueline, and finding the open man were some of the things Vegas did from the back end. Vegas defenseman Zach Whitecloud scored the game winning goal skating in from the blueline and Theodore scored doing the same thing. Florida needs a man high on the blueline to take away those opportunities. Keeping the Vegas defensemen at close range can limit their offensive chances in game 2.
Panthers Tkachuk a non-factor in game 1
One of the main reasons Florida is in the SCF is that of Panthers forward Tkachuk. His style of play and getting offense at the right time has been key to the playoff success of the Panthers. Tkachuk was held off of the scoreboard in game 1, but was a -1 and had 14 total penalty minutes. Tkachuk needs to not take penalties that will leave Florida shorthanded and should worry about contributing offensively. Tkachuk is one of the many talented players in this SCF and Florida needs him to be on the ice contributing. Not in the box for something uncalled for.
Last change important for Vegas
Vegas, like all home teams, has the luxury of the last change at home. Florida has some good two-way players but Vegas can get past that with the last change. Match ups are important in the SCF this may be something to watch, not only for game 2, but as the series goes farther. The last change could dramatically change the series if the coaches get the match ups they want.
Projected lineups for the Vegas Golden Knights and Florida Panthers
Vegas Golden Knights
Ivan Barbashev- Jack Eichel- Jonathan Marchessault
Reilly Smith- William Karlsson- Michael Amadio
Brett Howden- Chandler Stephenson- Mark Stone
William Carrier- Nicolas Roy- Keegan Kolesar
Alec Martinez- Alex Pietrangelo
Brayden McNabb- Shea Theodore
Nicolas Hague- Zach Whitecloud
Adin HIll- Jonathan Quick
Injuries: Laurent Brossoit (lower-body), Logan Thompson (undisclosed)
Scratched: Teddy Blueger, Paul Cotter, Ben Hutton, Phil Kessel, Kaeden Korczak, Brayden Pachal, Jiri Patera
Carter Verhaeghe- Aleksander Barkov- Anthony Duclair
Nick Cousins- Sam Bennett- Matthew Tkachuk
Ryan Lomberg- Anton Lundell- Sam Reinhart
Zac Dalpe- Eric Staal- Colin White
Gustav Forsling- Aaron Ekblad
Marc Staal-Brandon Montour
Josh Mahura– Radko Gudas
Sergei Bobrovksy- Alex Lyon
Injuries: Eetu Loustarinen (undisclosed), Patric Hornqvist (concussion)
Scratched: Givani Smith, Mike Benning, Casey Fitzgerald, Evan Fitzpatrick, Lucas Carlsson, Mack Guzda, Matt Kiersted, Grigori Denisenko, Aleksi Heponiemi, Mackie Samoskevich, Connor Bunnaman, Patrick Giles, John Ludvig, Santtu Kinnunen, Calle Sjalin
lineups via nhl.com
Where to Watch
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