How Panthers and Golden Knights Differ in Attitude and Style
By: Nitin Singh
The Stanley Cup Final is underway and the two teams vying for the ultimate prize are the Florida Panthers and the Vegas Golden Knights.
Both teams have never won the Cup before, but they have different approaches and mindsets to the game. Here are 10 bullet points that highlight how they differ in attitude and style.
The Panthers are led by Matthew Tkachuk, who has been a clutch performer and a physical force in these playoffs. He has scored two overtime winners and the series-clinching goal against the Canadiens in the conference finals. He is second in scoring with 21 points and has added nine goals as well.
- The Golden Knights are led by Jack Eichel, who is playing in his first postseason after eight seasons with the Sabres. He has been the team's most consistent offensive generator, leading them with 18 points. He has also contributed on defense, blocking 22 shots, the most among forwards on Vegas.
The Golden Knights have Adin Hill in net, who was acquired from the Sharks because of Robin Lehner's season-ending surgery. He has fit in seamlessly, posting two shutouts and a .937 save percentage. He stopped 70 of 73 shots in the two regular-season games against the Panthers, going 1-1.
The Panthers have a more balanced offense, with six players scoring at least five goals and nine players scoring at least 10 points. They have also gotten more production from their defensemen, who have scored 12 goals, compared to six for the Golden Knights' defensemen.
- The Golden Knights have a more dominant top line, with Eichel, Mark Stone and Jonathan Marchessault combining for 27 goals and 60 points. Stone is a four-time finalist for the Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward, while Marchessault has scored nine of his 10 goals in the last 10 games.
The Panthers have better special teams, ranking first in power-play percentage (28.6%) and second in penalty kill percentage (87.5%) among playoff teams. They have scored 16 power-play goals and allowed only seven.
- The Golden Knights have better shot suppression, ranking first in shots against per game (26.9) and second in blocked shots (314) among playoff teams. They have allowed only 46 goals in 18 games, the fewest among playoff teams.
The Panthers have more experience, with two former Stanley Cup winners among their regulars: Patric Hornqvist (Penguins) and Keith Yandle (Blackhawks). They also have several players who have played in the finals before, such as Tkachuk (Flames), Aaron Ekblad (Oilers) and Aleksander Barkov (Predators).
The Golden Knights have more motivation, with four former Panthers among their regulars: Marchessault, William Karlsson, Reilly Smith and Shea Theodore. They were all left unprotected by Florida in the expansion draft and have been key contributors for Vegas ever since.
These are some of the differences between the Panthers and the Golden Knights in attitude and style. Both teams are hungry for their first Stanley Cup title, but only one will emerge victorious. Who will it be?