News center
Our merchandise has a loyal following that continues to grow.

Thanks In Part To Mark Stone's Incredible Insurance Goal, The Golden Knights Take Game 1 Of The Stanley Cup Final Over The Panthers

Jun 04, 2023

What a Stanley Cup Final opener!! Goodness. And even though the Vegas Golden Knights pretty much took control in the final period, Game 1 was hanging precariously in the balance for the hosts. Between all the overtime winners Matthew Tkachuk has scored this postseason for Florida and how well the Panthers have fought to get to this point, it felt like an equalizer and eventual extra period was almost inevitable.

Amid all that dramatic tension at T-Mobile Arena, it was captain Mark Stone who put the Ps to bed on Saturday night with a truly all-world display of instincts, lightning-fast reaction time and precision to beat Sergei Bobrovsky on a top-shelf finish:

The reverse angle from behind Stone — reverse angle from behind, I think that's redundant but oh well...especially redundant when I type it twice and type the word "redundant" thrice...redundant — in particular is quite sultry.

Following a tense challenge break in which it could've been construed that Stone's initial play on the puck was a high stick, the goal was upheld. By rule, since Stone crouched when he raised his wood — huh huh. raised his wood. (h/t Beavis & Butt-Head) — it wasn't deemed a high stick. Good call, zebras.

Now we can't not mention the actual GWG by Zach Whitecloud, which was a testament to the fantastic forechecking display the home team put on in the final 20 minutes. Florida had a chance to clear the zone but couldn't due to how relentless Vegas was on the attack from behind the cage. The puck ultimately came out to Whitecloud at the point, and he did not miss:

Data says it might as well have been a wrap after that.

Quite an impressive bounce-back off the second intermission for the Golden Knights. Having outscored opponents 25-8 in the second period during these Stanley Cup playoffs, they were sitting pretty very, very late in the second. That is, until a set-play snipe by Anthony Duclair tied the score with only about 10 seconds before the second stanza horn. Tough break on the deflection for the Knights.

Like I literally looked down at my computer while it was happening live and missed it. TNT ran the replay not long after. Missed that, too. Took me until the third freaking look at the goal before i even saw Duclair's shot. That's how rapidly he popped that one off. Unbelievable.

The goal-scoring in this one was pretty damn sick overall. However, I can't help but spotlight, once again, a save by Vegas goalie Adin Hill that is among the very best I've ever seen in my entire life.

Had to be the greatest stick save of all-time. Maybe I'm forgetting some Dominik Hasek ridiculousness from back in the day. Nothing springs to mind. Fire off in the comments about it if you're offended. Hill made 25 stops on the evening, including a late save when the Panthers got a shorthanded chance. Hell of an effort.

Anyway, congrats to the improbable, recent-expansion-team story that is the Vegas Golden Knights. They're a full-blown NHL juggernaut so early in their history. Now only three wins away from claiming the Stanley Cup. All it takes is one off night from Vegas and a little agitation from Rat King Tkachuk to put the Panthers right back in this and tie it up at one heading back to the Sunshine State.

Fair point by Nate here, too:

Can't wait for Monday's Game 2. LFGGGGGG.

Twitter @MattFitz_gerald / TikTok

Twitter @MattFitz_gerald / TikTok