The Vegas Golden Knights lead the Florida Panthers 3-1 in a best-of-7 series and can claim their first championship with a win in Game 5 at T-Mobile Arena (8 p.m. ET; TNT, truTV, SN, CBC, and VAT).
This is the top news before the game, but know that the Stanley Cup still has company in the award process. In fact, it is the Conn Smythe Trophy, which is given to the most valuable player in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
[RELATED: Complete Stanley Cup Final coverage]
The race for Conn Smythe remains a crowded field and there is intense debate over who will take the NHL Commissioner’s Gary Bettman Trophy to kick off the presentation ceremony.
So ahead of Game 5, we’ve revised the MVP discussion.
Unsurprisingly, a panel of NHL.com writers differed in their opinions. Here are their answers, in alphabetical order:
Hill of Eden
Much has been said about the Florida Panthers goalkeeper. And if they come back to win the Stanley Cup Final, I’m going to fall behind Sergei Bobrovsky for the best player. But we can’t ignore Hill, his consistent, stellar hand at goal for the Golden Knights, and how he effectively saved their season when they had no one else to turn to, after all. Laurent Brossuyt Harm. In 15 playoff games, Hill had a 2.11 goals-against average, . 934 save percentage, and gave the team a lot of confidence. Hill allowed the Panthers two goals in each of the Golden Knights’ win and three in their loss in Game Three, with the last goal coming in overtime. This is exactly what the goalkeeper must do in order to pass his team across the goal line and win the Stanley Cup. His goal may not be to get Bobrovsky headlines or to be praised for the goals he scores Jonathan Marquessault. But, really, where would they be without him? I pretend not to win the cup. – Amalie Benjamin, writer
Video: VGK @ FLA, Gm4: Hill stopped Verhaeghe in the final seconds
The idea is to score goals, and no one at the Golden Knights has done a better job at the right times than Marchesault. The forward scored 13 goals in his last 14 appearances in Match Five after not scoring in the first seven matches of the qualifiers. He has 14 points (eight goals and six assists) in nine straight games. But it’s not just that he scores goals, it’s when he scores goals. Of his 13 goals, three tied the game and six gave Vegas the lead, including three game-winners. He scored the first goal in three matches. Marchesault hit a natural triple in the second period of Game 6 against the Edmonton Oilers in the Western Conference, tying the game, giving the Golden Knights the lead and then giving them protection in a 5-2 victory. Scored the tying goal in Game 2 against the Dallas Stars in the Conference Final at 17:38 of the third period. Vegas won in overtime. – Dan Rosen, Senior Writer
During a conversation with the Eastern Conference General Manager on Monday afternoon, the topic of making the biggest difference in the 2023 Stanley Cup playoffs came up. But Marchesault’s timing was impeccable. When games are on the line, in playoffs in games that can go either way, he puts his stamp on the games. And, as Dan clearly shows, the Vegas striker has done it time and time again. Nine of his 13 goals tied the game or gave the Golden Knights the lead. When the target is 16 wins on his way to the Stanley Cup, his fingerprints are everywhere. There were flashes of Jack Eichel And marking the stone And Alex Pietrangelo and Adin Hill, but no one changed the balance of games like Marchessault. Do not take my words seriously. NHL executives are also of the same opinion. – Mike Zizberger, faculty writer
No need to think about that. Leading the Golden Knights in goals (13) and points (24) in the Stanley Cup playoffs, Marquessault hit hard in the big moments. You can defend Jack Eichel, William CarlsonAnd Adin Hill and others, but if Vegas wins the cup, it would be nice if Marchessault was voted MVP in the final. It’s a no-brainer, but if Conn Smith won, it would be appropriate. She was selected in the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft by the Florida Panthers, out of all teams. He leads the Golden Knights in goals (34) and points (70) in the playoffs from the start. – Nicholas J. Kutsuneka, columnist
Video: VGK @ FLA, Gm3: Marchesault catches up with PPG for second place
Dan is right, the idea is to score goals. The idea is also to prevent the other team from scoring, and the defender was one of the main reasons Vegas did it so well. Since their start in the previous round, the Golden Knights have allowed 2.10 goals per game, better than four teams in the Conference Finals. Pietrangelo leads all Vegas defensemen in time on the ice per game with 23:33, three minutes ahead of his closest teammate (Shea Theodore, 20:07), and is second in points among Vegas defensemen with nine points (one goal, eight assists), one behind Theodore. Perhaps most importantly, his Stanley Cup-winning pedigree (St. Louis, 2019) gave the veteran Golden Knights the championship lead they’ve been banking on this season. Bill Price, editor
The quarterback showed his value to the Golden Knights again in their 3-2 win in Game 4, helping them come back from losing Game 3 by scoring his first two goals, including one on a one-off breakaway: 39 in the game. The speedy 29-year-old has five points (two goals and three assists) in the Cup Final and 19 points (10 goals and nine assists) in 21 playoff games. That includes the winning three goals (one in overtime), which ties him with Marcisault for most Golden Knights. Stevenson plays in all positions, including being a key power play player and kills (he’s the only Vegas player to be in the team’s top three in power play and short ice time), helping Vegas edge out Florida by 6.0″ in the series. leads Stevenson is also a Golden Knights in playoff tackles (332) and ranks second among their players with at least 10 tackles in wins, at 53.3% (behind William Carlson’s 53.9%). – Tom Goleti, college writer
Video: VGK @ FLA, Gm4: Stevenson punches five holes in the breakaway
marking the stone
Considering the Golden Knights captain missed the last 39 games of the regular season after undergoing back surgery in January, it’s pretty remarkable what he did in the 2023 Stanley Cup playoffs.
Stone scored 21 points (eight goals and 13 assists) in 21 playoff games. He had two goals and an assist in his second game, helping the Golden Knights to an important 5-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets to tie the Best 7 in the first round to a 1-1 tie, and he never did. Look back.
Taking corporal punishment in the second round against the Oilers, Stone scored a goal and an assist in a 6-4 victory in Game 1, and scored a power-hitting goal in Game 5 to tie the game at 2-2 at Victory Road. a 4-3 victory.
The victory marked a turning point in the series, which Vegas won in six games. His scoring continued to go into the conference final and cup final. — Derek Van Diest, college writer
Video: VGK @ FLA, Gm3: Stone’s even match with PPG in the first period
Yes, I realize that the Panthers may not come back from the 3-1 deficit they are facing to win the Stanley Cup. Even if they don’t, it’s hard for me not to consider Florida forward Conn Smith the winner. Look what he did: 24 points (11 goals, 13 assists) in the Stanley Cup playoffs, tied for first with Marchessault (13 goals, 11 assists) and Rob Hintz The stars (10 goals and 14 assists). He leads the Panthers with four power-hitting and four winning goals, including three in overtime, in the playoffs. The average ice time is 21:38 minutes per game. Tkachuk has been a beast and clearly has some sort of injury; He was benched for nearly 11 minutes of the third period when the Panthers trailed 3-2 in Game 4 on Saturday. But he was there at the end of the game, almost equalizing with a last-second try. If Tkachuk beats Conn Smythe and the Panthers quit, he’ll be the first to beat a losing team since Anaheim Ducks goaltender Jean-Sebastien Geiger did it in 2003. Tracy Meyers, college writer
Video: VGK @ Fla, Gm3: Tkachuk serves the disc in third place