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Stanley Cup Final Game 2 live blog: Panthers vs. Golden Knights

Jun 03, 2023

Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final is in the books and the Vegas Golden Knights have defeated the Florida Panthers, 7-2, to take 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 series. Editor-in-Chief Bill Price was high atop T-Mobile Arena to provide the sights, sounds and highlights from Game 2.

[RELATED: Complete Stanley Cup Final coverage]

If you're keeping score at home, we had our first rat on the ice with 7:16 left in the third period, which came after Matthew Tkachuk scored to make it a 6-2 game. I'm sure we will see more of them in Florida.

Florida, which is playing in its second Cup Final, has yet to win a game in the Final, having been swept by the Colorado Avalanche in 1996. Still, I bet South Florida will be buzzing when we get there tomorrow evening. I mean, the Panthers are only down 2-0 -- they came back from down 3-1 against the Bruins -- and you have the Miami Heat playing in the NBA Finals. Game 3 of that series is Wednesday.

Lost in the shuffle of this big Vegas win is Jonathan Marchessault, who has 12 goals in his past 12 games. I'm sure he will be a big story in Florida, since he used to play for the Panthers. Not a bad pickup for Vegas in the Expansion Draft.

Florida came close to making it a 6-3 game, but Adin Hill -- tell me if you've heard this before -- made a big save to stop the puck from crossing the goal line.

In the ensuing scrum, Tkachuk got another 10-minute misconduct, so he's done for the night.

And for good measure, Brett Howden made it 7-2 Vegas with 2:08 left in the game. It was Howden's second of the game.

It was a perfect microcosm of what was a frustrating night for the Panthers and a fun night for the Golden Knights and their fans, who were doing the wave and chanting "We Want the Cup." The Golden Knights are now closer to the Stanley Cup than they ever have been before -- two wins away. I can't imagine the party we will see in this town if they actually win the Cup.

But there is plenty of hockey left to be played as Florida looks to get its game back on track at home.

Thanks for reading along and I'll see you Thursday in Florida.

Video: FLA@VGK, Gm2: Howden fires in PPG for his second goal

The storyline coming into the Final was if Florida would be impacted by the nine-day layoff from Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final to Game 1 of the Final, but honestly, I think Vegas has just been the better team. They are clicking on all cylinders, while the Panthers are having trouble scoring and keeping the traffic away from the front of their goal crease.

They will get the last change at home for Games 3 and 4, so maybe they can make some adjustments, but coach Paul Maurice, who told everyone to relax after Game 1, has to be somewhat concerned with how Vegas has handled the Panthers in the first two games.

And now it's 6-1 after a beautiful odd-man rush goal from Michael Amadio on a gorgeous assist from William Karlsson. Everything is just going right for Vegas right now.

They just had fans try to build their own fortress during the last timeout using wood blocks that looked like Jenga blocks. Speaking of Jenga, Dan Rosen and International's Corey Hersch had an intense Jenga game at the Cup Final media reception Sunday night. It was with the giant Jenga blocks. Hersch talked a big game, but Rosen came out on top. It may have been the only game in Vegas last night that did not feature any wagering.

Video: FLA@VGK, Gm2: Amadio fires home a pass in front

'The good feelings for the Panthers lasted about two minutes as Jonathan Marchessault followed the Lundel goal with one of his own, on an assist from -- you guessed it -- Jack Eichel, on his first shift since the hit from Tkachuk.

And remember, the Panthers will be without Tkachuk for a few more minutes since he got a 10-minute misconduct after the hit on Eichel.

That's a huge emotional lift for Vegas, which looked like it could be without Eichel for the third, but he not only comes back, he gets an assist, his second of the night and fourth of the series.

The Golden Knights lead 5-1 with about 15 minutes left here and it appears we will be heading to Florida with Vegas up 2-0. But the party is still going strong here at T-Mobile.

Video: FLA@VGK, Gm2: Marchessault nets slick 2nd goal

Welp, the third period has begun and the Panthers have finally cracked the Adin Hill code, with Anton Lundell scoring just 14 seconds into the period to make it a 4-1 game. We'll see if that gives Florida a little lift.

Between periods they had a DJ named 3LAU (pronounced Blau) spin some wax. I really need to look into this DJ racket. When we were here for the 2021 All-Star Game, this guy Zed played a League party. The place was absolutely packed and people were going wild for Zed, who danced around while playing records. I think I can do that. Of course, I would be playing bad 70s and 80s songs, so maybe I can get a DJ gig at some senior community. Combo that record-playing skill with my karaoke shtick and I might have something here.

I digress. The big question during the second intermission was whether Jack Eichel would be back for Vegas, and he is. On the bench. That's good news for the Golden Knights.

It will be interesting to see what happens here in the third period.

To sound the siren before the period began they said the greatest receiver in the NFL would do it. It's funny, but I thought they meant Cooper Kupp. It was Devante Adams.

Video: FLA@VGK, Gm2: Raiders' Davante Adams attends Game 2

Well, things are getting a bit testy here now after Matthew Tkachuk just got in a pretty hard hit on Jack Eichel. It was a pretty nasty collision. Eichel went to the room for some repairs. Looking at replays, it looked like a pretty clean hit. Eichel actually starting falling before Tkachuk hit him.

Of course, it resulted in a big scrum on the ice. Tkachuk got two minutes for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct. But Eichel went to the room and did not come back. It was a pretty hard hit and you wonder if he will come back tonight, especially with Vegas up 4-0.

If the Panthers are looking for any silver lining here it's that Alex Lyon is playing pretty well, stopping the first five shots he's faced. Lyon hasn't played since April 21, which was Game 3 against the Bruins in the first round. In any event, it's 4-0 Vegas after two periods.

They just played "My Own Worst Enemy" by Lit and the crowd continued the singing after the song stopped playing. Speaking of singing, the crew and some of colleagues from other outlets hit a karaoke place last night. staff writer Tracey Myers stole the show with her rendition of "When Will I Be Loved" by Linda Ronstadt. I even got up there, and as a nod to my big brother Tim, I did my Jim Morrison impression and sang "Touch Me." I'm told it was pretty good. Not sure if that's true. People were just trying to be nice.

As if the Florida Panthers weren't having a hard enough night, they just did a Florida man quiz in the crowd, with the arena host asking fans true or false Florida man headlines, like "Florida man pretending to be a cop pulls over an off-duty cop." That was true.

It ended with the host asking a guy wearing a Panthers jersey is a story about a Panthers fan going to Vegas and becoming a Golden Knights fan was true, and he, of course, ripped off his Panthers jersey to reveal a Vegas jersey. Awesome stuff.

By the way, if at the beginning of the playoffs you had Adin Hill vs. Alex Lyon on your Cup Final BINGO card, congrats, you are the big winner. And if you had Adin Hill standing on his head, well, I hope you put some money down on that one at the casinos. He's been really sharp, stopping all 21 shots he's faced. And though it's 4-0 Vegas now, he made some of those saves when it was a scoreless or one-goal game.

I haven't written about the music tonight because I'm little bummed about some news involving my favorite band, Volbeat. Their guitarist for the past 10 years, Rob Caggiano, is leaving the band.

Florida is getting another power play here, trailing 4-0 with 7:25 left in the second period. The Panthers really need a goal here.

Well, so much for something good happening for Florida as it's now 4-0 Vegas.

And if you want an indication of how things are going their way, the Golden Knights' rush on the fourth goal came in part because Vegas forward Mark Stone had broken his stick in the defensive end, so he went to the bench, and when he turned around the puck was coming his way. He then fed Brett Howden, who walked in and walked around Bobrovsky and scored.

As Howden was about to get the puck, Nick Cotsonika, fresh off his trip to Wet Republic, said "this could get ugly." About three seconds later, Howden scored.

That was the end of the night for Bobrovsky, with Alex Lyon taking over. Bobrovsky wasn't great, but he didn't get much help tonight. If anything, he'll get some rest before Game 3 on Thursday. But if Lyon plays well tonight, could we have a goalie decision on our hands? Remember, Lyon was the No. 1 goalie when the postseason started.

As for things going their way, writer Amalie Benjamin is very happy right now. When we have to travel from one city to another, the writers need to get off-day stories ready. Amalie had a Lyon story ready but didn't think he would get in tonight. But here is in and now her story tomorrow will have a little more timeliness.

Video: FLA@VGK, Gm2: Howden makes sweet move and scores

The wheels are falling off for the Panthers as it's now 3-0 Vegas with 17:01 to go in the second period.

This time the goal came on a shot from the slot by Nicolas Roy that Sergei Bobrovsky didn't appear to even see.

The Panthers need something good to happen for them, but defenseman Radko Gudas is out and will not return. He was injured on a hit from Golden Knights forward Ivan Barbashev in the first period Monday.

Gudas exited immediately to the locker room after being knocked two the ice by a right-shoulder hit from Barbashev at 6:38 of the first period.

By the way, with that third Vegas goal, it marks the second straight game fans can now get free tacos at Taco Bell. What a time to be alive.

We now have two guys banging on the glass behind the goal - the guy who is the second L in the H I L L crew, and a guy in a sparking gold jacket.

Rosen not happy.

Video: FLA@VGK, Gm2: Roy cuts to the front and scores

The party is really going now in Vegas. After Adin Hill pretty much stood on his head during the Florida power play, the Golden Knights came right back and scored, this time on a goal from Alec Martinez.

That's the third goal from a Vegas defenseman in this series and something Florida has to get under control.

What has to be more unsettling for Florida though it that Sergei Bobrovsky, who was absolutely amazing against the Toronto Maple Leafs and Carolina Hurricanes in the previous two rounds, looks awfully human again. On the other end, Hill is doing his impression of a brick wall.

He's even a little fiesty as he mixed it up with Matthew Tkachuk, who had slid into his net.

The first period is over and I wonder if Panthers coach Paul Maurice, who told the media the relax on Sunday, is feeling now. After a tight Game 1, the Golden Knights cleary look like the superior team through the first 20 minutes.

As for the guy banging the glass, he's one of the four people wearing the H-I-L-L shirts behind the Vegas net. I have to admit, if I had those seats I would bang the glass, too. Sorry, Dan.

Video: FLA@VGK, Gm2: Martinez whips a shot past Bobrovsky

Florida goalie Sergei Bobrovsky must feel like a plate of scrambled eggs because he is getting peppered early on here in Game 1. The Golden Knights have nine shots on goal in the first 14 minutes of the game, while Adin Hill has only faced three shots, but one of them was a breakaway from Carter Verhaeghe.

Bobrovsky is about to face more shots with Vegas going on the power play. But Nicolas Roy just took a hooking minor, so it's 4-on-4 for 16 seconds and then Florida will go on the power play.

Dan Rosen is getting annoyed up here in the press box as there is a fan behind the Vegas net who bangs the glass every time the puck goes by him. I have to admit, I have never understood the need to bang on the glass, but then again, I've never sat up against the glass at a game. Maybe I'll try it sometime to see if I get the urge to hit the glass.

Honestly, I think Dan is just annoyed since he had some struggles at the blackjack table last night. Either that, or he didn't get the right amount of Starbucks iced tea today. Thankfully, Amalie Benjamin is sitting between us, so I don't have to hear all of his complaining.

We have our first goal of the game and this place is going nuts.

Jonathan Marchessault converted on the power play to make it 1-0 Vegas with 12:55 left in the first.

Like it did Saturday, Vegas got traffic in front of Sergei Bobrovsky, this time it was Mark Stone.

The Golden Knights got the first power play of the game when Ryan Lomberg went off for cross checking. While he sat in the sin bit, the whole crowd chanted "Shame, Shame, Shame" at him. I wonder if Evelyn Champagne King knows about this.

In case you missed it pregame, there was plenty to cheer about at Wet Republic, which is pretty much a Vegas style adult pool party. I hear they even let you have alcohol by the pool.

Anyway, rapper Lil Jon was there with the Stanley Cup, and our Nicholas J. Cotsonika was there with him (tough job, right?). Here is his story with some photos.

Video: FLA@VGK, Gm2: Marchessault fires home PPG from circle

The mayhem has begun with another elaborate pregame show complete with dragons, rats, drummers descending from the sky.

But now the players are on the ice and it's Knight Time as they say here in Vegas.

I have to say, the MC in this place -- Mark Shunock -- is the absolute best. The dude is so full of energy and knows exactly how to get the crowd ready.

It will be interesting to see how this game plays out. I remember back in 2018 after Vegas won Game 1 of the Cup Final against the Washington Capitals, the people in this town were ready to start the Cup party, but the Golden Knights lost the next four games. So on the heels of Vegas' Game 1 win on Saturday, let's see how they and the Panthers respond.

Also, if you are scoring at home, I've already downed one plastic cup full of peanut M&Ms.

We are about 45 minutes from puck drop and the excitement is ramping up here.

It's been a pretty eventful day already here in Vegas with some of the top prospects for the 2023 NHL Draft visiting the teams and meeting the media.

First, Adam Fantilli, Leo Carlsson and Will Smith met the media in separate scrums, and then Connor Bedard, the projected No. 1 pick by the Chicago Blackhawks, had his own media session, podium and all.

Check in a little bit and you find a column from Nicholas J. Cotsonika, who followed the four prospects around Vegas.

Speaking of draft prospects, draft gurus Mike Morreale and Adam Kimelman are up in Buffalo for the 2023 NHL Draft Combine. Check out their coverage all week and all their draft coverage at the draft landing page. These guys know more about the NHL Draft than pretty much anyone on the planet.

A small correction from the intro, it's not Stanley Cup Final Game 2, it's Game 2 of the Final Conquest according to the rally towels the Golden Knights gave out to fans at the game.

Every seat in T-Mobile Arena was draped with a gold flag with the words "Game 2 Final Conquest" and the image of a panther and a dragon up on a dark mountain. It's a theme I'm sure that will continue in the elaborate pregame show they do here in Vegas. It's really spectacular, with guys who are playing drums being lowered from the ceiling, a knight skating on the ice and a virtual dragon as well. These fans really don't need anything else to get them going after the Game 1 win, but this will.

Stanley Cup fever is alive and well in Las Vegas. It's almost hard to believe that A) the Golden Knights have been in existence for only six seasons and B) it took until 2017 for a pro sports team to come to this city. This place loves the Golden Knights. Everywhere you go in town, there is Golden Knights gear.

Once again, there were plenty of fans at City National Arena to watch Vegas' optional practice. And of course, the city was buzzing on Monday in anticipation of Game 2.

As for the early hockey storylines to follow tonight, you have to figure the Panthers are going to ramp up the physical game in the hopes of getting the Golden Knights off their game and also getting their top players going. And you know Vegas is going to keep trying to get traffic in front of Florida goalie Sergei Bobrovsky after they were able to take away his eyes on a few goals Saturday.

We're about an hour from puck drop. Stay here all game for all the on-ice and off-ice happenings in Vegas.