A few quick observations on Las Vegas’ 5-2 win over Florida in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.
Las Vegas goalie Adin Hill’s paddle save on former Flyer Nick Cousins could become the play of the final. The score was tied at 1, early in the second period. Goals can be so precious in the hockey playoffs that a count there could have tipped the game in Florida’s favor.
“I extended my stick and was able to get a piece with my paddle,” Hill told reporters after the game. “It felt good.”
Hill’s save has to rank for the highest all-time in playoff history. In the 2018 final, Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby made a similar, amazing save against Las Vegas in the final.
“Holtby, he had an incredible series,” Hill told reporters after the game. “He was part of the reason the Capitals won that Cup, for sure, a big reason.”
The Panthers were outscored 3-0 in the third period. Didn’t they have their legs, after the long rest?
Las Vegas defenseman Shea Theodore scored the second goal and was a rock on defense. By the way, the fourth line of the Golden Knights was a force at all times.
From top to bottom, Vegas has more depth. Meaning, the Panthers need their big names more than ever to dominate. Florida goalie Sergei Bobrovsky was terrific early on, but he wasn’t at his best later in the game. He will have to be, moving forward.
Not a good look for Florida’s Matthew Tkachuk committing a minor, 10-minute double misconduct late in the third quarter. The Panthers have been the cool, calm and collected team during the playoffs.
That being said, Games 2 are always crucial in a series. A team can go up 2-0 and really grab the series. Or, the loser of Game 1 can tie the series and carry some momentum.
Looking for a renewed effort from the Panthers in Game 2 on Monday night.
Maurice A Flyers Draft Pick
I Didn’t Know This: Florida coach Paul Maurice was selected by the Flyers in the 1985 draft. The defenseman was selected in the 12th round, 252 overall, the final pick in the draft.
Maurice played four seasons with the Windsor Spitfires. He suffered a serious eye injury that ended his playing career. According to the winnipeg sun, an opponent’s slap shot deflected and crushed his eye. He still has central and peripheral vision loss, according to the Sun. When he couldn’t play, he became an assistant coach for the Detroit Junior Red Wings and within three years was coaching in the NHL.
He has been the head coach since 1995-96, starting with the Hartford Whalers. He has coached Carolina, Toronto, Carolina again and Winnipeg. This was his first year with Florida. He also trained for a season in Russia.
Flyers, in case you missed it:
The NHL confirms that the Flyers will play the Devils in the Stadium Series at MetLife Stadium.
Should the Flyers go for the fences in the draft?
Around the National Hockey Net:
Florida Hockey now: Panthers don’t panic after Game 1 loss.
Vegas hockey now: Details of the victory in the locker room after the Golden Knights took Game 1.
Detroit Hockey Now: A news report links veteran Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck to a possible trade to the Red Wings.
Boston Hockey Now: The Bruins-Tyler Bertuzzi report sparks trade buzz.
Buffalo Hockey Now: Could Jets goaltender Connor Hellebucyk be the answer for Sabers?
New Jersey Hockey Now: The heck could use wrestling prospect Chase Stillman of the Peterborough Petes.
Pittsburgh Hockey Now: When the Penguins hire a full-time general manager, he may share some duties with the new president of hockey operations, Kyle Dubas.
Colorado Hockey Now: Avalanche forward Valeri Nichushkin is eligible for next season following an alleged incident at the team hotel.
Montreal Hockey Now: The Canadiens’ prospect pool needs goaltending help.
Next Stanley Cup final game:
Game 2: Panthers at Golden Knights, Monday at 8 p.m., TNT