Matthew Tkachuk of the Florida Panthers and Jonathan Marquessault of the Vegas Golden Knights.
The Knights go into the Final as heavy favorites and many expect the Stanley Cup to head to Vegas for the first time. However, the leopards Happy to play the underdog and have been on an amazing playoff run so far.
The ice hockey world knows anything can happen when it comes to tackles with Florida looking to direct Pics “Miracle on Ice.”
The likes of Matthew Tkachuk and Carter Verheig will hope to make the best Mike Erzione impression of Team USA’s famous victory over the Soviet Union.
The best-of-seven Stanley Cup Finals begin Saturday, June 3 with the opener kicking off at 8 p.m. ET
All games from this year’s Stanley Cup Final will be shown live in the US on TNT.
Matthias J. Ochner/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service/Getty Images
The Florida Panthers are the underdogs before the Stanley Cup Final.
The Vegas Golden Knights finished with the most points in the Western Conference. The Golden Knights had 111 points and finished the season with a 51-22 record with nine overtime losses.
The Golden Knights faced the Winnipeg Jets in the opening round of the playoffs. Despite losing the first game, Vegas bounced back to win by four on the trot for a 4-1 win.
The Edmonton Oilers were next and Vegas cruised to a 4-2 win in the second round to set up a Western Conference Finals series against the Dallas Stars.
The Golden Knights raced to a 3-0 lead before the Stars won back-to-back games to keep the series interesting. In the end Vegas ended the series with a 6-0 victory to reach the Stanley Cup Final.
Vegas star Jonathan Marchesault and former Riley Smith successfully got off to Florida before being let go after being deemed unwanted. Since then, Marchesault has become Vegas’ all-time leader in goals, assists, points and games played, while Smith is second in goals, fourth in assists, third in points and fourth in games played.
“They remind me a lot of the team we had that first year: against all odds,” Marcisault said of the Panthers after reaching the Stanley Cup Final.
“They worked so hard to be there. It’s all in their honour. They have a great team all over the squad and a good goalkeeper. Yeah, definitely excited to play them, and it’s going to be a good series.”
Stephen R Silvani/USA Today Sports/Reuters
Jonathan Marchesault starred in Vegas Golden Knights.
While the Golden Knights were expected to go away after the regular season, the Florida Panthers turned the odds around throughout the playoffs to reach their first Final in nearly 30 years.
The Panthers qualified for the playoffs via their second wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference and as a result faced the top of the Eastern Conference table in the first round.
The Boston Bruins set the NHL regular season record for most wins (65) and most points (135) in a single season and were expected to achieve a routine series winning record.
As the Bruins raced to a 3-1 lead, it seemed like the series was going exactly according to scenario as the two favorites pulled ahead. However, Paul Morris’s team had other ideas and won three straight games shocking the hockey world.
The Panthers and Bruins played a thriller in Game 7 as overtime went on. In overtime, Verhaeghe emerged with a winner to send the underdogs to the second round, thwarting the Bruins’ Stanley Cup dreams.
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Carter Verhaje scored the winning goal in overtime against the Boston Bruins in Game 7.
Florida’s next two series concluded more comfortably. The Panthers beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1 before clinching a 4-0 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.
Panthers star Tkachuk tallied a career-high 21 in the postseason with 21 (nine goals and 12 assists), but more importantly, the 25-year-old stepped up in tough moments when his team needed him.
He scored three overtime goals in the playoffs, including the game-winner on the power play with 4.9 seconds left in regulation in Game 4 against Carolina.
Tkachuk said his Panthers enjoy the feeling of proving people wrong in making it to the Final.
“Kind of that similar feeling of being an underdog and trying to prove people wrong again,” Tkachuk said.
“Total coffee junkie. Tv ninja. Unapologetic problem solver. Beer expert.”