Stanley Cup Final 2023: What we learned in Game 2

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ESPN staffJun 5, 2023, 11:35 PM ET8 Minute Read

What went wrong for Sergei Bobrovsky, Panthers in Game 2?

Brian Boucher breaks down how the Golden Knights dominated Game 2 and overwhelmed Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.

The first two periods of the 2023 Stanley Cup Final were pretty even; in fact, the score was tied 2-2 heading into the third period of Game 1. Then, the Vegas Golden Knights scored three straight goals to win 5-2

… and then another four straight to open Game 2, en route to a 7-2 victory over the Florida Panthers, and a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

As the scene shifts to Florida for Games 3 and 4, what have we learned so far, and how will those lessons impact the remainder of the Final?

ESPN reporters Ryan S. Clark, Emily Kaplan, Kristen Shilton and Greg Wyshynski check in with their thoughts after a wild Game 2:

Bobrovsky or Lyon?

Do we have a goaltending controversy in Florida? It’s hard to remember, but it was actually 30-year-old journeyman Alex Lyon who started the playoffs in net for the Panthers. He went 1-2 against the record-setting Bruins, Sergei Bobrovsky came in and well, the rest was history.

Bobrovsky played up to his $10 million-per-year contract with a .935 save percentage entering the Stanley Cup Final. But he has allowed eight goals in four and a half periods, getting pulled in Game 2 once the Golden Knights went up 4-0. That said, the defensive coverage in front of him was less than spectacular. So who gets the nod in Game 3? — Kaplan

Tkachuk’s wild night

With 2:04 left in the second period, it appeared that Matthew Tkachuk might have changed the complexion of the series with one legal hit.

As Vegas star Jack Eichel stickhandled the puck, Tkachuk skated at him with considerable velocity. Eichel sensed a hit was coming, but in bracing for impact his left skate toe-picked on the ice. That sent him awkwardly into the on-charging Tkachuk, who sent Eichel to the ice with a thunderous check.

Jack Eichel leaves the ice after huge collision with Matthew Tkachuk

Jack Eichel immediatly goes to the locker room after taking a huge hit from Matthew Tkachuk.

Eichel immediately left for the trainers’ room, causing concern that the Golden Knights’ leading scorer might have been injured. Both Tkachuk and Vegas forward Ivan Barbashev were given roughing minors and 10-minute misconduct penalties in the aftermath, as Barbashev went after Tkachuk following the hit.

Luckily for Vegas, Eichel only got the wind knocked out of him and returned to play the third period — setting up a critical Jonathan Marchessault goal that made it 5-1 and put a final stake in the heart of the Panthers for Game 2. Tkachuk returned in the third period and earned his first point of the Stanley Cup Final, scoring his 10th goal of the playoffs at 12:44.

But then at 14:01 of the third, Tkachuk’s night was officially over. He earned a second misconduct penalty in the game — and his third of the series. On his way off the ice, he slapped a…

Read More: Stanley Cup Final 2023: What we learned in Game 2 2023-06-06 03:35:00

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