The Stanley Cup Finals begin Saturday, June 3 when the Vegas Golden Knights play the Florida Panthers. The series will begin in Las Vegas with Game 1 at the T-Mobile Arena at 8 p.m. ET. Both teams are aiming for the first Stanley Cup. Vegas last made the Cup Final in 2018, their inagural season in the NHL and lost to the Washington Capitals in five games. Florida last made the Cup Final in 1996 and lost to the Colorado Avalanche in a four-game sweep.
The Conn Smythe Trophy is handed to the MVP of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Last year’s winner was Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar.
2023 Conn Smythe Trophy odds
Panthers goalie Sergie Bobrovsky is the odds-on favorite at +210 and he has been the primary reason for the Panthers run from the second Wild Card in the Eastern Conference to the Cup Final. Panthers forward Matthew Tkachuk (+290) has been the most clutch offensive performer in the playoffs. He has 21 points (nine goals, 12 assists) in the tournament with four game-winning goals and three overtime winners.
Golden Knights forward Jack Eichel (+425) is making the most of his first run in the postseason. The former No. 2 pick in the 2015 Draft has 18 points (six goals, 12 assists) and has shown a lot of grit and commitment with his two-way play.
NHL Playoff MVP picks/predictions
FLA G Sergei Bobrovsky, +210
If the Panthers are going to complete this Cinderella run it’s going to be because of Bobrovsky. He is 11-2 in the playoffs with a .935 save percentage. He was at his brilliant best in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Carolina Hurricanes when he posted a .966 save percentage with a shutout. Bobrovsky has had an up-and-down tenure with the Panthers, but he’s getting hot at the right time.
VGK F Jonathan Marchessault, +700
For Vegas, you could go in a number of directions with Eichel, William Karlsson (+700) or captain Mark Stone (+900), but I like Marchessault because he’s been the guy when Vegas needed someone to step up. He has 17 points (nine goals, eight assists) and three game-winning goals. In a series that should be pretty tight across the board, Marchessault is the pick to get the goals that could tilt the series in the favor of the Golden Knights.