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NHL Playoff News – Vegas vs Florida

Scott Morris | May 30, 2023
Segei NHL

We’ve now reached the NHL Stanley Cup Finals. This wasn’t a pairing anticipated by many.

Knights Stymie Stars

There was a time when the Western Conference finals appeared to be a sweep in the making, that after the Vegas Golden Knights took a 3-0 series lead over the Dallas Stars. Dallas, to its credit, prolonged the proceedings with a pair of wins. 

However, Monday night’s Game 6 outcome in Texas left no questions as to the better team in the series. It was a dominant performance by Vegas, jumping the hosts early and never taking the foot off the gas. The final score (6-0) sent the Golden Knights to the Final once again.  

Having lost to the Washington Capitals in 2018 (inaugural season of Vegas in the league), it will be eyeing its initial Cup. William Karlsson had a pair of goals in the closeout win. He is one of the players on the team during the first run to the Final. 

Adin Hill recorded a 23-save shutout in a game that was never competitive. It was Vegas playing as if it was the team with backs against the wall.  

After losing Game 5, the Knights’ players held a meeting to discuss a series that seemed to be slipping away. Whatever was said seemed to work, the final score did not lie. 

Dallas captain Jamie Benn returned after serving a two-game suspension. He didn’t factor, ending as a -2 on the evening. 

The Stars were hoping to become just the fifth NHL playoff team to come all the way back after trailing three games-to-none. They fell two wins short, however. 

Panthers on Prowl

It wasn’t a huge shock to see the conference’s top seed Vegas Golden Knights win the West., but no one (or at least very few) saw the Panthers in the East. As the barely-qualifying No. 8 seed, Florida has obviously been the story of the postseason, its second-ever appearance (swept by Colorado in ‘96) in the Final.

Taking down the record-setting Boston Bruins (after trailing, 3-1), the Toronto Maple Leafs (five games) and sweeping the Carolina Hurricanes (all one-goal games, two in overtime), it’s been  a huge run by the Panthers. Matthew Tkachuk and Sergei Bobrovsky have been heroic.

Tkachuk is leading Florida (nine goals, 21 points) in the playoffs. Bobrovsky didn’t have a great regular season, but is 11-2 in postseason games he’s started (2.21 goals-against average). 

Florida will be underdog again in the Final, It’s a role the Panthers have relished. Vegas is the -130 choice to win the title (Florida at +110), according to Stanley Cup odds. Vegas finished with 19 more regular-season points (111-92) than the Panthers.

Looking at the Schedule

With the Stanley Cup Final and NBA Finals taking place concurrently (viva South Florida), leagues are spreading out the action. Game 1 of the Stanley Cup isn’t until Saturday evening, allowing both the Golden Knights and Panthers a chance to rest (Florida’s been doing that). 

Vegas will have home-ice advantage in the series. Game 2 goes Monday night before the series shifts Thursday night. Should there be a maximum number of games, it’s Monday’s June 19th as the decider. Back to the first game of the series, where the homestanding Golden Knights at the -135 faves, as per NHL odds.

 

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