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Knights thrash Panthers in Stanley Cup, lead 2-0

LOS ANGELES: The Vegas Golden Knights thrashed the Florida Panthers 7-2 to take a 2-0 lead in the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup final series on Monday. The Knights, who romped to a 5-2 victory in game one on Saturday, once again overpowered Florida on a miserable night for the Panthers at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky was yanked from the game in the second period after conceding four goals from 13 shots in just 27 minutes as the Knights ran riot.

Florida defenseman Radko Gudas also left the game with an undisclosed injury after a bone-jarring hit by Knights forward Ivan Barbashev. Jonathan Marchessault fired Vegas into the early lead on a power play to make it 1-0 with 12min 55sec left in the first period. Alex Martinez then doubled the Vegas lead at the end of the first, making it 2-0 with a snap shot after an assist from Barbashev.

The Vegas onslaught continued in the second period, with Nicolas Roy lashing home through a crowd of defenders to put the Knights 3-0 up. Brett Howden tucked away the fourth with a superb finish from close range with 7:10 remaining in the third. That prompted the removal of shellshocked goalie Bobrovsky, and the Panthers at least managed to ride out the remainder of the period without conceding again.

Anton Lundell raised faint hopes of an improbable comeback after scoring for Florida just 14 seconds into the final period to make it 4-1. But once again the Knights response was emphatic, with Marchessault grabbing his second for a 5-1 lead after deft work down the left flank from Jack Eichel. Michael Amadio piled on the pain for Florida to make it 6-1, coolly finishing after a clever reverse pass from William Karlsson.

Matthew Tkachuk grabbed a late consolation for the Panthers but it was only a temporary reprieve, with Howden sweeping home to complete the scoring with just over two minutes left on the clock. The best-of-seven series now heads to Florida, with game three taking place on Thursday.- AFP

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