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Game 1: What A Save For Vegas! Florida Coach Paul Maurice Was A Flyers Draft Pick?

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Florida coach Paul Maurice
Florida coach Paul Maurice

Some quick observations about Vegas’ 5-2 victory over Florida in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Vegas goalie Adin Hill’s paddle save on former Flyer Nick Cousins might turn out to be the play of the finals. The score was tied at 1, early in the second period. Goals can be so precious in playoff hockey, a tally there might have swung the game in Florida’s favor.

“I reached out my stick and was able to get a piece of it with my paddle,” Hill told reporters after the game. “Felt good.”

Hill’s save has to rank up there all-time in playoff history. In the 2018 final, Capitals goalie Braden Holtby made a similar, amazing save against Vegas in the final.

“Holtby, he had an unbelievable series,” Hill told reporters after the game. “He was part of the reason why the Capitals won that Cup, for sure — a big reason.”

The Panthers were outscored 3-0 in the third period. Did they not have their legs, after the long layoff?

Vegas defenseman Shea Theodore scored the second goal and was a rock on defense. The Golden Knights’ fourth line was a force throughout, by the way.

Top to bottom, Vegas has more depth. Meaning, the Panthers need their big names more than ever to dominate. Florida goalie Sergei Bobrovsky was terrific early but wasn’t at his sharpest later in the game. He’ll need to be, moving forward.

Not a good look for Florida’s Matthew Tkachuk taking a double-minor and 10-minute misconduct late in the third period. The Panthers have been the cool, calm and collected team throughout the playoffs.

That said, Game 2s are always crucial in a series. A team can go up 2-0 and really grab the series. Or, the loser of Game 1 can tie the series and carry some momentum.

Looking for a renewed effort by the Panthers in Game 2 on Monday night.

Maurice A Flyers Draft Pick

Didn’t know this: Florida coach Paul Maurice was selected by the Flyers in the 1985 draft. The defenseman was picked in the 12th round, 252nd overall, the final pick in the draft.

Maurice played four seasons with the Windsor Spitfires. He suffered a serious eye injury that ended his playing career. According to the Winnipeg Sun, an opponent’s slap shot deflected and crushed his eye. He still has central and peripheral vision loss, according to the Sun. When he couldn’t play, he became an assistant coach with the Detroit Junior Red Wings and within three years was coaching in the NHL.

He’s been a head coach since 1995-96, starting with the Hartford Whalers. He’s coached Carolina, Toronto, Carolina again and Winnipeg. This was his first year with Florida. He also coached a season in Russia.

Flyers, In Case You Missed It:

NHL confirms Flyers will play Devils in Stadium Series at MetLife Stadium.

Should Flyers swing for the fences at the draft?

Around The National Hockey Network:

Florida Hockey Now: No panic from Panthers after Game 1 loss.

Vegas Hockey Now: Details from winning locker room after Golden Knights take Game 1.

Detroit Hockey Now: Newspaper report links Jets veteran goalie Connor Hellebuyck for possible trade to Red Wings.

Boston Hockey Now: Bruins-Tyler Bertuzzi report sparks trade rumors.

Buffalo Hockey Now: Could Jets goalie Connor Hellebucyk be the answer for Sabres?

New Jersey Hockey Now: Devils could use feisty prospect Chase Stillman, of the Peterborough Petes.

Pittsburgh Hockey Now: When Penguins hire a full-time GM, he might share some duties with new president of hockey operations Kyle Dubas.

Colorado Hockey Now: Avalanche forward Valeri Nichushkin is ruled eligible for next season after alleged incident at team hotel.

Montreal Hockey Now: Canadiens’ prospect pool needs goaltending help.

Next Stanley Cup Final Game:

Game 2: Panthers at Golden Knights, 8 p.m. Monday, TNT

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