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Golden Knights Locker Room: Hill Save Biggest of His Life, Enjoying the Physicality



Adin Hill, Vegas Golden Knights, Stanley Cup Final Game 1

The Vegas Golden Knights did what they needed to do and a few things they wanted to do. The physicality was punishing at times, but the Golden Knights forecheck was more often in the Florida Panthers’ zone than vice versa, and Adin Hill made the biggest save of his life en route to a 5-2 Game 1 win.

The Golden Knights lead the Stanley Cup Final 1-0. Game 2 is Monday at T-Mobile Arena. All games in the series are at 5 p.m. PT.

Vegas Hockey Now will break down the Game 1 win, but the locker room was all smiles, even Zach Whitecloud. In a microcosm of the Golden Knights last two weeks, Whitecloud’s microphone stand broke mid-press conference and mid-answer.

The defenseman caught it, but not before almost knocking down his name card and causing a little stir. With everyone watching, Whitecloud picked up the mic and finished his sentence without missing a beat.

It’s been that way for the Golden Knights. As things have broken or after a long delay between the end of the Conference Finals and Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, they didn’t miss a beat.

The Vegas Golden Knights also picked up their answer for the Stanley Cup in mid-sentence.

Five different VGK players scored goals, but the contest will be remembered for Adin Hill’s dazzling save in the first minute of the second period.

Adin Hill: 

Much has been made of Hill’s fourth-string status, but the goalie had the second most starts for the Golden Knights this season. He’s been solid to spectacular on the playoff run through the Edmonton Oilers, Dallas Stars and won Game 1 against the Florida Panthers.

It’s only one game and was not a Cup-clinching game, but the Hill stop may reverberate. In the first minute of the second period, the Golden Knights were scrambled in the defensive zone as Tkachuk fooled everyone by passing up a shot and slipping a pass to Nick Cousins at the top of the crease.

Cousins had a wide-open net … until Hill dove back to the center of the net, his body fully extended, led by his stick.

Cousins’ shot hit the blade of Hill’s stick. Hill admitted that based on the timing, it was probably the best save of his life:

Zach Whitecloud & Mark Stone

Mark Stone scored the backbreaking goal later in the third period when he slapped a clearing pass out of the air and snapped a wrister past Florida Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky. (The Whitecloud fumble and recovery, which elicited laughter, is at 2:48. Stone talks Adin Hill at 5:35).

“We were talking about it in the room. That was an incredible save at a pretty important time of the game,” Stone said. “He makes the huge save. (Pietrangelo) makes a great play to keep the puck out of the net. Not long after (Shea) Theodore makes an incredible play to get us the lead.”

The play Stone is referencing is Shea Theodore’s goal midway through the second period, in which he stickhandled around and essentially undressed  Anthony Duclair off the mid-wall to create space at the top of the zone for a clean blast past Bobrovsky.

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Zach Whitecloud and Mark Stone:


Jack Eichel:

The 2015 second-overall pick, who fought his way out of Buffalo and was acquired by the Vegas Golden Knights last season before having disc replacement surgery, is taking to playoff hockey like a duck takes to water or tourists take to selfies on the strip. It’s his first playoff run and but he needs no lessons on how to adapt to the increasing pressure or tougher hockey.

He’s getting pretty good at it.

Later in the third period, Tkachuk (again) went after Nic Hague. It was a running theme through the game as Tkachuk tried to antagonize Hague, only to lose the battle or bring about laughter as referees held Tkachuk back as Hage stood ready for what may come.

Nothing ever happened, as officials may have wisely protected Tkachuk. However, late in the third period, as Tkachuk continued to chip at Hague as officials were in the middle, the Golden Knights’ top center went after Tkachuk and began to give back the chips, chops, and punches.

Eichel tried to downplay his efforts in the scrum, but a top center whose job is to score goals getting involved in the rough stuff sends good messages to his team.


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