LAS VEGAS — Jonathan Marchessault scored twice and started an early blitz that chased the NHL’s hottest postseason goaltender, and Adin Hill continued his stellar play as the Vegas Golden Knights seized control of the Stanley Cup Final with a 7-2 victory over the Florida Panthers to take a 2-0 series lead Monday night.
Hill made 29 saves, and Marchessault had an assist to finish with three points. Marchessault’s 12 postseason goals set a Golden Knights record, with all coming after the first round.
Brett Howden scored twice for the Knights, who also got goals from Alec Martinez, Nicolas Roy and Michael Amadio. Six players had at least two points for Vegas, all 18 Knights skaters were on the ice for even-strength goals and their nine goal scorers through the first two games are a Stanley Cup Final record. The Knights’ seven goals tied a franchise mark for a playoff game.
It was too much for Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, who was removed 7:10 into the second period down 4-0. It was the fifth time in 12 games the Knights have chased the opposing goalie.
Matthew Tkachuk and Anton Lundell scored for Florida, a club that has now been outscored 12-4 in the series and is down two games for the first time since Round 1, when the Panthers stunned the Boston Bruins.
Teams that take a 2-0 series lead in the Stanley Cup Final are 31-3 in the expansion era. The Panthers will try to buck history beginning with Game 3 on Thursday in Sunrise, Florida.
Hill once again brought his feistiness as well as his A-game. He stopped Carter Verhaeghe on a breakaway in the first and later that period hit Tkachuk, who was in his net, with his blocker then slashed him with his stick.
The Knights were dominant early, taking a 2-0 lead in the first period on goals from Marchessault and Martinez. It was Vegas’ third game in a row with a power-play goal, its first such stretch since Christmas week.
That was one of several big hits by Barbashev, the Golden Knights’ biggest trade-deadline acquisition who was a Stanley Cup champion with the St. Louis Blues in 2019. Barbashev broke the sternum of Colorado defenseman Samuel Girard during the playoffs last year, also on a clean hit.
Vegas had its own scare late in the second period when Jack Eichel was nailed in the right shoulder by Tkachuk. Eichel returned in the third and set up Marchessault’s second goal.
The series shifts to South Florida now, a region that hosted the All-Star Game this season but hasn’t opened its doors to a Stanley Cup Final game since 1996.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Marchessault, Golden Knights overpower Panthers, take 2-0 lead