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Lightning Round: Vegas Golden Knights are the champions of the NHL

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The Vegas Golden Knights are the 2023 Stanley Cup Champions following their 9-3 blowout of the Florida Panthers in five games. The Golden Knights won their franchise’s first championship six years after inception, with six of their original “Golden Misfits” still on the roster (Jonathan Marchessault, Reilly Smith, William “Wild Bill” Karlsson, William Carrier, Shea Theodore, and Brayden McNabb).

Misfit Marchessault won the Conn Smythe trophy for playoff MVP. He led the playoffs in goals and was second in points. Marchessault and Smith were two special misfits, who were practically thrown to Vegas by Dale Tallon and the Panthers back during the expansion draft. They have now beaten the team that dumped them six years later to win hockey’s ultimate prize.

Marchessault is also the first undrafted player since Wayne Gretzky to win the Conn Smythe in the NHL. And if you account for all the WHA drafts, Marchessault is the first ever undrafted player to win playoff MVP. Talk about beating the odds.

Link via @NHL

You might have caught me mention the score in the final game of the season, and yah, it wasn’t close at any point. Vegas got out to a 2-0 lead after one, extended it to 6-1 after two, and lifted the Stanley Cup after three. Clinical play from one of the most structurally balanced top teams in the league.

The Golden Knights are the first men’s professional sports team to win a championship in Vegas – the Las Vegas Aces of the WNBA were first last year.

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The after action report for the Panthers made it pretty clear the team didn’t have enough gas in the tank or intact bones in their bodies to be competitive by the end. Matthew Tkachuk had a broken sternum, Aaron Ekblad had multiple major injuries, the list is long.

Since the Panthers and Miami Heat arenas are within 40 minutes of each other, I’ll also say that Miami is the first city to lose the Stanley Cup Final and NBA Final on back-to-back nights. Both teams lost in five games.

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