If Southern Nevada was simply asked who will win the Stanley Cup Finals, 99% of those polled would choose the Golden Knights. You’ll find a few cynics but overall, Las Vegas is a city packed with optimists and Stanley Cup parade planners. Elsewhere in the hockey universe, NHL beat writers, experts, fans, insiders and reporters are making their often-wrong Stanley Cup Final’s predictions.
We gathered predictions from various outlets and publications and even asked ChatGPT. So, let’s jump right in, starting with us.
SinBin.vegas: 3 Pick VGK
- Ken Boehlke – Vegas wins in 7
- Mike McKenna – Vegas wins in 6
- Jason Pothier – Vegas wins in 6
For only the second series this postseason, all three of us on the same page. Mike and Jason lean towards the Golden Knights hoisting the Stanley Cup on the road in Game 6. Ken wildly predicts six straight road winners meaning Vegas would drop the first two games but go to win Game 7 in front of home fans. In the end, it doesn’t matter how the Golden Knights pull it off, as long as they make us look smart.
Spittin’ Chiclets: 3 Pick VGK, 3 Pick FLA
Which one of the boys are you riding with for their Stanley Cup Finals prediction? pic.twitter.com/h1FTaJfpZU
— Spittin' Chiclets (@spittinchiclets) June 1, 2023
NHL.com: 8 Pick VGK, 8 Pick FLA (5 featured below)
- Amalie Benjamin – Panthers in 6
I’ve spent three rounds in South Florida with the Panthers, and after watching them defeat the Boston Bruins (No. 1 in the NHL this season), the Toronto Maple Leafs (No. 4) and the Carolina Hurricanes (No. 2), I’ve learned not to pick against the Panthers. By sweeping the Hurricanes, the Panthers did exactly what they needed to do to succeed in the Stanley Cup Final: get Sergei Bobrovsky some rest. Because as he’s shown in these playoffs, when Bobrovsky is rested and ready, he can be nearly impossible to beat. It might have been unbelievable to say at the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but it’s the Panthers all the way for me.
- Nick Cotsonika – Golden Knights in 6
It’s hard to pick against the Panthers. They’ve won 11 of their past 12 games. They’ve eliminated the best regular-season team in NHL history, plus the No. 2 and No. 4 teams in the regular season. Tkachuk has been on a tear, and Bobrovsky has been a brick wall. But they will have gone nine days without playing by the time Game 1 rolls around Saturday, and maybe the magic will have faded by then. This Vegas team is deep, experienced and on a mission to finish what that first Vegas team started. The benefit of the doubt goes to the team that has won 10 playoff rounds during the past six seasons.
- Tom Gulitti – Panthers in 6
Rust might be a factor early in the series for the Panthers, who have been off since May 24, and you wonder if the layoff will take Bobrovsky out of his rhythm. The Panthers have had something magical going, though, with Bobrovsky and Tkachuk, who has scored three overtime goals in the playoffs, and a deep lineup that also includes Aleksander Barkov, Carter Verhaeghe, Sam Reinhart, Sam Bennett, Brandon Montour and Aaron Ekblad. The only thing left to do is finish the job by winning the Stanley Cup for the first time in their history.
- Dan Rosen – Golden Knights in 6
Vegas has won each of the first three rounds by using its depth to its advantage. The Golden Knights have had the better depth in each series and that has made the difference. It will again against the Panthers. Vegas doesn’t have to have one line or one defense pair tasked with shutting down Tkachuk. The Golden Knights feel comfortable putting any of their four lines or three defense pairs against whoever is on the ice. That has become especially true with the emergence this season of Eichel as a 200-foot center. Vegas feels it can win the battle regardless of who is on the ice for the opponent. And it usually has.
The Daily Faceoff: 4 Pick VGK, 4 Pick FLA
Sports Illustrated: 1 Picks FLA
- Luke Lindholm – Panthers
The Panthers’ forecheck is the key. It has been too much for anyone in the East to handle. If they can keep on top of the Knights and force mistakes, they have the firepower to take advantage. For that reason, look for the Panthers to cap off their historic run with their first Cup win.
TSN – Overdrive: 1 Picks VGK, 2 Pick FLA
- Brian Hayes – Golden Knights
- Jeff O’Neil (O-Dog) – Panthers
- Jamie McLennan (Noodles) – Panthers
USA Today: 1 Picks VGK, 2 Pick FLA
- Jimmy Hascup – Panthers in 6
Florida has not played since May 24, a key for the freshness of goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, who has posted a .935 save percentage in the playoffs. While rust could come into play, this team has the makeup and mindset to turn on the switch by Game 1. Matthew Tkachuk has been a beast, Aleksander Barkov is a force at center and Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Montour are stalwarts on defense. The team of destiny vibes also pointed me in the Panthers’ direction.
- Jace Evans – Golden Knights in 6
Vegas has somehow flown under the radar despite being the West’s No. 1 seed, but the Golden Knights have been mighty impressive. They have averaged more goals per game in the playoffs than the Panthers (3.65 to 3.13), doing it with an attack that comes at you in waves (six players with at least six goals). They have allowed fewer goals per game in the playoffs than the Panthers (2.65 to 2.69), limiting potent Edmonton and Dallas attacks the past few rounds, preventing Game 7s with impressive closeout victories on the road. Golden Knights goaltender Adin Hill even has a higher save percentage in the playoffs since he got into the lineup than the red-hot Bobrovsky. I’ll side with the team with home ice in what should be a fun Final.
- Mike Brehm – Panthers in 6
They’re one year removed from winning the Presidents’ Trophy and the 2022 Colorado Avalanche and 2020 Tampa Bay Lightning won the Cup one season after they had clinched the league’s top record. Not having home-ice advantage hasn’t bothered the Panthers so far as they’re 8-1 on the road, losing just the playoff opener. They’re also 6-0 in overtime. The Golden Knights are deep and dangerous, but so is Florida. In addition to Tkachuk and Barkov, the Panthers get offense from Carter Verhaeghe, Sam Reinhart and Sam Bennett.
DobberHockey.com: 9 Pick VGK, 11 Pick FLA
The Vegas answer to Matt Tkachuk is… well, nobody.
So Florida in 5
— Dobber (@DobberHockey) May 30, 2023
CBS.com: 2 Picks VGK, 0 Picks FLA
- Austin Nivison – Golden Knights in 7
I expect a long and close series between these two teams with stars like Eichel and Tkachuk playing at the top of their game. Ultimately, the Golden Knights’ depth and stronger defense will win out.
- Chris Bengel – Golden Knights in 7
This figures to be a very evenly matched series with quite a bit of firepower on each side. However, I do believe that the Golden Knights’ scoring depth will prove to be the difference and will lead them to their first Stanley Cup.
The Hockey News: 2 Pick VGK
- Stan Fischler – Golden Knights to win
- Adam Proteau – Golden Knights in 6
In the end, we went with Vegas because we like their defense corps more than Florida’s and because Bruce Cassidy has proven to be an ideal fit behind the Golden Knights’ bench. Vegas plays all six of its best defensemen at least 18:25 per game. While they don’t have a legitimate Norris Trophy candidate, the Golden Knights’ group of blueliners is big – five of their top six D-men are at least 6-foot-2 – and cohesive in their own zone. Cassidy can feel comfortable giving any one of his defensemen some important responsibility, and they normally do very well in response to that challenge.
SportsNet – Hockey Night Punjabi: 4 Pick VGK
🏆 The Stanley Cup Final is set to kick off tomorrow night!
⭐️ Here are Hockey Night Punjabi's Cup Winner Picks!
💭 Share your thoughts and predictions below.
Who will triumph? Stay tuned! 🎉 pic.twitter.com/ENB0ZWVorQ
— Hockey Night Punjabi (@HkyNightPunjabi) June 3, 2023
- 538.com – VGK 57% Chance to Win
- MoneyPuck.com – VGK 55% Chance to Win
- The Athletic’s Dom Luszczyszyn – VGK 52%
- ChatGPT – Vegas in 6
Overall, the majority of prognosticators expect the Golden Knights to take the series in six games and will bring their first-ever Stanley Cup to Nevada for a fabulous championship parade down the Strip.
Hopefully the Golden Knights ignore the consensus and clinch the series in Game 5 and are able to celebrate on home ice in front of local VGK fans. I think we’d all prefer Vegas to win in five, a seventh game will be too damn stressful. GKG!