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Vegas Golden Knights come back to beat Florida Panthers in Game 1 of Stanley Cup Final

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Zach Whitecloud scored from long range with just over 13 minutes left, after Adin Hill made arguably the best save of the playoffs, and the Vegas Golden Knights beat the Florida Panthers 5-2 Saturday night in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Stanley Cup Panthers Golden Knights Hockey
Vegas Golden Knights right wing Jonathan Marchessault (81) watches as a goal by defenseman Zach Whitecloud slips past Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (72) during the third period of Game 1 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals, Saturday, June 3, 2023, in Las Vegas. Abbie Parr / AP

Whitecloud's goal put Vegas ahead, a crucial penalty kill followed and captain Mark Stone scored an insurance goal that was reviewed for a high stick and confirmed. 

That combination, plus Hill's 31 saves, gave Vegas the lead in the series after a feisty opener between Sun Belt teams who wasted little time getting acquainted with big hits during play and plenty of post-whistle pushing and shoving.

Original Knights players Jonathan Marchessault and Shea Theodore also scored on Florida's two-time Vezina winner Sergei Bobrovsky. 

Back in the final, they'll now try to avoid the same result as in 2018, when Vegas beat Washington in Game 1 and lost the next four to fall short of hoisting the Cup in its inaugural season.

Game 2 is Monday in Las Vegas.

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