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What happens in Vegas ... is a Stanley Cup, as the Golden Knights win the NHL title

Members of the Vegas Golden Knights pose with the Stanley Cup after the Knights defeated the Florida Panthers 9-3 in Game 5 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals Tuesday, June 13, 2023, in Las Vegas. The Knights won the series 4-1.
John Locher
/
AP
Members of the Vegas Golden Knights pose with the Stanley Cup after the Knights defeated the Florida Panthers 9-3 in Game 5 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals Tuesday, June 13, 2023, in Las Vegas. The Knights won the series 4-1.

The greatest show in Las Vegas Tuesday night wasn't along the famed Strip – it was the National Hockey League franchise Vegas Golden Knights laying claim to the Stanley Cup championship in a game 5 win over the Florida Panthers. In so doing, the team set off celebrations befitting its host city.

The Golden Knights won the best-of-seven series by winning Tuesday's game 9-3, thanks to a hat trick from captain Mark Stone, three assists from center Jack Eichel and 31 saves from goaltender Adin Hill.

"Obviously, getting the iconic picture of kissing it (the Stanley Cup)," Hill said after the game, when asked about moments he'll cherish about the Stanley Cup title. "I thought it was going to be a little heavier – it felt lighter – maybe that's just the adrenaline."

The championship came just six years after the Golden Knights began play in the NHL in 2017, and five years after the team made the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural season of 2017-18. It was the fastest move by an expansion team to win a title among the big four professional sports in the U.S. – football, basketball, baseball and hockey – since the Arizona Diamondbacks won the World Series in 2001, ESPN reported.

The title set off widespread celebrations. A'ja Wilson of the WNBA's Las Vegas Aces gave a shoutout by tweeting "GET YOU ONE @GoldenKnights!!!"

Wilson's Aces, by the way, are the first professional sports team to win a title for Las Vegas, getting theirs last year by claiming the WNBA championship in defeating the Connecticut Sun.

Derek Carr, the former longtime quarterback for the Las Vegas Raiders, also quickly sent out congratulations.

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman, meanwhile, promised to present the team a key to the city.

But it was rapper and Game 2 pregame performer Lil Jon who may have best summed up the mood across the city following the Golden Knights' championship clinching victory.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.