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Because it's the Cup. House Enterprise's Stanley Cup Final predictions

East vs. West. For 23, this series will end in heartbreak and despair. For the other 23, euphoria and the honor of having their name etched on the most iconic trophy in all of sports, forever immortalized in history.

Here the three of us are again, for our final prediction article of the year. It's a bitter sweet feeling, really.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images


Vegas Golden Knights (P1) vs. Florida Panthers (WC2)

Well, I doubt I needed the above header because I'm pretty sure you know which two teams are battling for the Stanley Cup. Why else would you be here?

During my guest appearance on The BBB Podcast last week, I explained that the reason I'm going with Vegas is because they are just the more complete team in and out. Defense, offense, Vegas has it all.

While I am rooting for the Florida Panthers to win, my money is on Vegas. Jack Eichel, Mark Stone, Jonathan Marchessault, Alex Pietrangelo, Shea Theodore... the Vegas Golden Knights will not be denied.

Florida has the edge in goaltending with Sergei Bobrovsky playing out of his mind all postseason long. Bobrovsky is going to have to continue to be razor sharp in order to give Florida a chance to win this. I'm not trying to discount the Panthers here, they are obviously an incredible team that has defied all the odds, shut us all up multiple times, and continue to march on. I think they're really going to make a series out of this Stanley Cup Final. Matt Tkachuk, Aaron Ekblad, Aleksander Barkov, and Sam Reinhart aren't going to go out quietly. They've faced adversity before and have risen to the occasion.

Against my best judgement, even after being humbled many times by the Florida Panthers, I'm going to bet against them again.

Prediction: Vegas in 6


Will Tondo's Prediction

We’re here folks. Matthew Tkachuk vs. Jack Eichel, two of the best American players in the sport facing off, eyeing to help lead their respective teams to their first Cup. If anyone predicted these two to face off in the finals, I’d love to shake their hand. And for anyone saying this is a boring Cup just doesn’t appreciate the sport.

Eichel and Mark Stone have been incredible this postseason, leading the Golden Knights in total points and forming an unstoppable 1-2 tandem. Meanwhile, Florida has been a team of destiny. Upsetting the historic Bruins, knocking off the Leafs, and silencing the Hurricanes. Sergei Bobrovsky has been an iron curtain in net and Tkachuk has been the ultimate clutch player, leading the Panthers in scoring and tallying four game-winning goals.

Narrative nation is in full effect this Stanley Cup Finals. Will the Panthers hit a wall after a lengthy break since the Eastern Conference Finals? Does Vegas claim the title in their fifth season?

I feel like a fool to doubt the Cinderella Story Panthers but I think Vegas is just a more complete and sound team. Knights in 6.


Jake Zimmer's Prediction

Here I am, eating my words that I wouldn't stop betting on the Florida Panthers. It would take a really special group to make me go away from that mindset; and it's the 2023 Vegas Golden Knights.

Vegas' playoff run wasn't entirely unexpected, but it doesn't mean it should be any less exciting. The Golden Knights steamed out Winnipeg in Round 1, took care of business against Edmonton, and held off a resurgent Dallas Stars in the Conference Final en route to winning the West. There's no secret that VGK's success in this playoff has come down to two major factors: depth and defense. Every player that dressed for Vegas scored at least one point in the six-game series against Dallas; all four lines have fired on all cylinders this entire playoff. Their top-six have been absolutely exquisite in all three rounds so far; Jack Eichel is playing at his potential, Jonathan Marchessault shows no signs of slowing down despite being a charter member of the Golden Knights, and Mark Stone appears hungrier than ever to captain his team to a title. On the defensive front, Shea Theodore & Brayden McNabb have been excellent for the Golden Knights, while Alec Martinez & Alex Pietrangelo have been holding it down too.

On the other hand, Florida's success cannot be discounted this postseason. As I mentioned in last round's predictions, they play "hard-nosed," they have high-octane goal scorers, and can push the tempo of any game with ease. Matthew Tkachuk is making a case for best American-born active NHL player, with the Panthers' offense clearly running through the 25-year-old phenom. Sergei Bobrovsky is playing like the Vezina Trophy winner he once was; after all, his contract certainly reflects it. Carter Verhaeghe, Sam Bennett, and Brandon Montour have heard their names called after goals quite often this playoff.

So what gives here? Florida has thrived when they've pushed the tempo, so you'd have to think they'll try to do the same. The problem I foresee here is that this Vegas team will be unquestionably the hardest team to push the tempo against that they've faced all playoff; Vegas is simply too deep and playing the best defense they have in months. I do think the Panthers will grab Game 2, evening the series out before heading back to Florida. But Vegas has outscored opponents at a 2-to-1 clip on the road in the playoffs this year (32-16); I think they live up to their recent road warrior ways and take both in Sunrise. The Panthers steal a game in Sin City, but ultimately the Vegas Golden Knights hoist Lord Stanley's Cup for the first time in franchise history.


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