The Vegas Golden Knights landed the first punch in their Stanley Cup Finals quest versus the Florida Panthers.
The Western Conference Champions dealt the visitors a 5-2 defeat in what quickly became a heated battle. Still, the contest was closer than the score suggests.
Vegas trailed early, allowing the Panthers to break loose on the penalty kill. On what started as an odd-man rush, Anton Lundell fed the biscuit over to Eric Staal, pulling an NHL ’95 and scoring on the wrap-around.
Jonathan Marchessault pulled the Knights even with a powerplay tally late in the first. Subsequently, the teams exchanged goals in the second, heading to the third, tied at two.
That’s when the Golden Knights pulled away. Zach Whitecloud gave Vegas the lead for good, scoring on a writer early in the final stanza. Mark Stone followed that up less than seven minutes later, knocking down the puck with what Florida thought was a high stick and sniping from the slot. Reilly Smith sealed the deal with a powerplay empty-netter late.
Game 2 goes Monday night, with puck drop scheduled for 8 pm ET. FanDuel Sportsbook has the Knights priced as -137 chalk and the total set at 5.5.