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Stanley Cup Playoffs

The Legend of Adin Hill Grows After Game 2 Win, ‘Most Fun I’ve Ever Had…’



Vegas Golden Knights, Adin Hill, Nic Hague

LAS VEGAS — Adin Hill stopped 29 of 31 shots in a 7-2 Vegas Golden Knights Game 2 win Monday, yet the stat lines don’t begin to tell the story.

The legend of Adin Hill is growing.

The goalie, 27, bailed out his team, especially in the second period, while the outcome was still competitive. He punctuated his domineering performance over the Florida Panthers by doing the splits and making a glove save on Brandon Montour. He also bookended that highlight reel save by robbing Aleksander Barkov twice, once with the glove and once with a cat-quick right pad, within a few minutes.

There is a reason the fans inside T-Mobile Arena, affectionately called “The Fortress,” roared their support for the goalie in pre-game introductions. While others got a good pop from the home crowd, Hill’s ovation was thunderous. Fans wearing Hill jerseys were strategically positioned behind his net, too, though he was a little too busy to hear the chants.

“I saw the Hill sweater in warmup there, but all the chanting from the crowd — like you hear the noise, but you’re not really listening along,” said Hill. “You know, it’s been fun. Getting that second win is huge, and I’m just hoping we can keep the momentum rolling into Florida.”

Sergei Bobrovsky soaked up the media ink before the Stanley Cup Final. The former Vezina Trophy winner was a primary reason the Florida Panthers surged back to beat the Boston Bruins, knocked out the highly talented Toronto Maple Leafs in five, and swept past the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Final.

The top three teams in the Eastern Conference were put to bed by the red-hot Russian goalie.

In the Stanley Cup Final, the Golden Knights hung eight goals on Bobrovsky while Hill has turned his 6-foot-5 frame upside down and, at times, stood on his head. While the Golden Knights have scored 12 goals in two games, neither was a blowout until Hill made a few spectacular saves.

Those game-changing saves include “The Save” in Game 1, when Hill dove back to the net to rob Nick Cousins of a sure goal.

“It’s probably the most fun I’ve ever had playing hockey. I’m just enjoying it, cherishing every day. Just taking it one day at a time and just kind of living in the moment,” Hill said. “And it’s been fun. It’s been awesome to be part of this journey with this team.”

Hill was part of the Golden Knights’ early season 13-2-0 run that launched the team toward its Stanley Cup timbre. However, he didn’t seize the net and was eventually relegated back to the AHL behind Logan Thompson and Laurent Brossoit, who also had an AHL tour of duty.

Fate gave Hill a second chance in Game 3 of Round Two when Brossoit was injured early. Hill performed increasingly well throughout the Round Two series, eventually holding the fort against a furious Edmonton push later in the series.

Hill outdueled one of the best in the league, Jake Oettinger, in the Western Conference Final, too. As the Golden Knights break Bobrovsky, who was pulled after allowing four goals in 23 minutes, Hill stands even taller.

Cassidy praised his team’s depth and believes his team is better when comparing the entire roster.

“I just feel that we have the best team from player one through 20. That’s just how I feel,” Cassidy said. “They might have some better players, a better penalty kill, or a power player. You brought up their goaltender —  Now we’re starting to see that our guy is pretty good, too.”

The Panthers have pushed.

And whacked.

In Game 1, Cousins bore the brunt of an angry Hill when he chipped at the goalie and received a face full of Hill’s blocker and a good whack.

In Game 2, Matthew Tkachuk was knocked into the Golden Knights net. The Panthers’ pest didn’t miss the opportunity to bump Hill from behind as he got up, then gave Hill a little whack.

Hill didn’t hesitate as he punched Tkachuck and delivered a chop to the leg.

“I feel like staying calm and neutral is good, but I guess if guys are coming to the net and stuff, you have to stand your own ground,” said Hill matter of factly. “It shows your D that they don’t always have to do it for you, right? So, I like our team all year. We’ve been disciplined, but we’ll stand up for each other and keep it between the whistles.”

The refs have allowed Hill to defend himself aggressively, having a front-row seat each time. In fact, Cousins was called for roughing for hitting Hill.

The hard whacks are reminiscent of Billy Smith (the New York Islanders goalie from their Stanley Cup dynasty of the early 1980s).

Perhaps Hill will also reach the ultimate goal. The bearded British Columbia native with an easy smile needs two more wins.

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