LAS VEGAS — Jonathan Marchessault has been a model of consistency for the Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Not that that’s a surprise to any of his teammates, especially goaltender Adin Hill.
“I have to face his shot every day. It’s unbelievable,” Hill said of Marchessault, who had two goals and an assist for the Golden Knights in a 7-2 win against the Florida Panthers in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final at T-Mobile Arena on Monday.
“When he gets in tight, he’s probably one of the hardest guys in the League to stop. There’s a reason why he’s scoring.”
Indeed, there is. And Marchessault is scoring. A lot. The forward is second on the Golden Knights with 21 points (12 goals, nine assists) in 19 games this postseason, with each of his 12 goals coming in the past 12 games after he had just two assists in his first seven.
That production is a big reason why Vegas leads the best-of-7 series, which will shift to Florida for Game 3 at FLA Live Arena on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; TNT, TBS, truTV, CBC, TVAS, SN).
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However, Marchessault is aware that he’s just one of a number of players who have stepped up for the Golden Knights.
“Part of our game plan is we know we have depth,” he said. “We know if we roll four lines, get a good forecheck, we’ll get rewarded.”
Marchessault’s current run is reminiscent of his postseason performance in 2018, when he had 21 points (eight goals, 13 assists) in 20 games to help the Golden Knights advance to the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural season.
But he’s elevated his goal-scoring in these playoffs. On Monday, he gave Vegas a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal just 7:05 into the first period, taking a backhand pass from Chandler Stephenson, skating into the right circle, and scoring on Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky through a screen by Mark Stone.
“‘Marchy’s’ pretty hot,” Golden Knights forward Jack Eichel said. “He seems to be shooting the puck well. We’re just trying to communicate and move the puck. When things break down, try to make plays and support each other. Obviously, I think that’s what happened on the goal there. Stephenson makes a great play, and Marchessault’s got a hot hand right now. Stone with the great screen. It was a good play by us.”
In the third period, it was Eichel who set up Marchessault’s second goal that made it 5-1 at 2:10. Eichel won a battle along the left boards and sent a pass to Marchessault, who was left all alone in the slot and beat Alex Lyon under his glove.
“Marchy’s a winner. He’s always been,” Golden Knights forward Nicolas Roy said. “When we need a big goal or a big moment, he’s always been there, and he’s a big leader for us. We’re lucky to have him, for sure.”
Marchessault almost led the Golden Knights to the Stanley Cup in 2018. The way he’s scoring right now, he may help them finish the job this time around.
“He’s hungry. They’ve been here before and they’ve lost, so our team thinks this has to be our year,” Vegas forward Ivan Barbashev said. “The whole team, we’re just playing to win and everyone’s hungry, and when everyone’s hungry, you do want to win and that’s what we’ve been doing.”