The answer was yes in Game 1 as the Golden Knights beat the Panthers 5-2 on Saturday night with Hill making the save of the playoffs on Florida’s Nick Cousins. He had 33 saves to 29 for Bobrovsky, who had been on an 11-1 run.
The Golden Knights, who reached the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural 2017-18 season, are three wins from their first championship. Game 2 is Monday night in Las Vegas (8 p.m. ET, TNT).
The Golden Knights got goals from Jonathan Marchessault, Shea Theodore and Reilly Smith, members of that 2017-18 team, plus Zach Whitecloud and Mark Stone to offset goals by Florida’s Eric Staal and Anthony Duclair.
A look at Game 1:
Brilliant save by Golden Knights’ Adin Hill
Hill was busy in the first period, making eight saves, getting beat on Staal’s short-handed wraparound goal and even being involved in a scrum.
But he saved his best for the second period. Cousins had a wide-open net to put the puck in after a tic-tac-toe passing play, but Hill stretched out and got the heel of his stick on the shot. Cousins had another chance, but Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo broke up the play.
“I guess that’s the kind of stuff you dream of when you’re growing up, making that big save,” Hill told TNT. “It was nice. I was just kind of desperation. I just reached out with my stick and got a piece of it.”
Hill and Cousins had been involved in the first-period scrum, though Cousins picked up the only penalty in the exchange.
Hill also stopped Sam Reinhart on a shorthanded breakaway with 2:07 left in the third period as the Panthers tried to get back into the game.
Panthers’ Eric Staal opens scoring, but Golden Knights rally
Cousins was in the penalty box when the Panthers got on the board to break a scoreless tie. Staal took a feed from Anton Lundell on a 3-on-2 break, went behind the net and scored on a wraparound at 9:40 of the first period.
Florida had been 8-0 in the playoffs when scoring first, but Vegas’ Marchessault tied the game with 2:42 in the first period as the Golden Knights’ power play connected. It was Marchessault’s 10th goal in his last 11 games.
Theodore’s second-period goal and Whitecloud’s third-period game-winner were just the fourth and fifth by a Golden Knights defenseman in the playoffs. Florida’s Duclair had tied the game with 10 seconds left in the second period.
Stone’s goal was reviewed to see if he had first hit the puck with a high stick. It was confirmed as a good goal to make it 4-2 and leaving the Panthers short-handed because of the unsuccessful challenge.
“I think they were just excited about getting us into the (penalty) box one more time,” Panthers coach Paul Maurice joked about the quick review. “I thought that was fast.”
Tkachuk would have had an assist if Hill hadn’t stopped Cousins. But he was held without a point after getting three game-winning goals and setting up the other one during a sweep of the Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference final. He was limited to two shots (he also hit the post) and turned the puck over before Stone scored.
Tkachuk went to the dressing room early when he received four minutes for roughing Nicolas Hague and also received a misconduct during a third-period scrum.
It was one of three scrums in the game, which began after boxing announcer Michael Buffer said, “Let’s get ready to rumble.”
The Golden Knights also won the opener in the 2018 Stanley Cup Final then lost four in a row to the Washington Capitals. … The Panthers fell to 0-5 in franchise history in the Final. But Maurice reminded reporters that the Panthers had overcome 1-0 and 3-1 deficits in the first round to beat the Boston Bruins. “Everybody just breathe,” he said.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Golden Knights beat Panthers in Game 1 of Stanley Cup Final
Source: Yahoo Sports