Jonathan Marchessault and Brett Howden scored twice while Alec Martinez, Nicolas Roy and Michael Amadio added a goal each as the Vegas Golden Knights thumped the Florida Panthers 7-2 to take a 2-0 series lead in the Stanley Cup Final.
Vegas chased Florida’s starting goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky from the game less than eight minutes into the second period after Howden completed a tic-tac-toe sequence with linemates Chandler Stephenson and Mark Stone. Bobrovsky made nine saves on 13 shots before being replaced by Alex Lyon.
Marchessault scored his 11th and 12th goals of the playoffs, while adding an assist on Alec Martinez’s goal, which stood as the eventual game-winner. Martinez initially flubbed the puck but regained his composure to beat Bobrovsky high, after the Panthers’ goalie dropped to the ice prematurely.
Roy beat Bobrovsky from a bad angle to extend the 3-0 lead, then Howden flew in minutes later at full speed, tucking the puck past Bobrovsky for the 4-0 count. Panthers head coach Paul Maurice pulled a dejected Bobrovsky from the net which only slowed the onslaught.
Anton Lundell put the Panthers on the board 14 seconds into the third period, the first blip in an otherwise flawless game from Golden Knights goaltender Adin Hill. Marchessault scored his second goal of the contest to counter quickly, before Matthew Tkachuk scored his first goal of the Final.
Amadio added Vegas’ sixth goal of the contest with just under 10 minutes left in the final frame, then Howden notched his brace in the dying minutes.
Tkachuk was at the center of some brief controversy after leveling Jack Eichel with a clean, shoulder-to-shoulder hit late into the second period. Tkachuk and Golden Knights forward Ivan Barbashev were issued minors and ten-minute misconducts alike, while Golden Knights defender Alex Pietrangelo and Panthers blueliner Gustav Forling were given minors for roughing. Eichel left for the locker room but returned for the third period and finished with two assists, while Tkachuk was eventually ejected with his second misconduct during the third period.
Hill made 28 saves in the winning effort.
The series resumes Thursday at FLA Live Arena, where the Panthers will host the Golden Knights in Game 3.