Stanley Cup Final, Game Four
Vegas leads the best-of-7 series, 2-1
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Sunrise, Florida – The Florida Panthers have a chance to hold serve on home ice until the Stanley Cup Final two games apiece when they host the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 4 at FLA Live Arena on Saturday.
Vegas won Games 1 and 2 at home, 5-2 and 7-2, respectively. Florida responded with a 3-2 win in Game 3 at home Thursday, courtesy of forward Matthew TkachukThe equalizing goal with 2:13 remaining in the third period and beyond Carter VerhagheWinner 4:27 into overtime.
“It’s very loud in the building and we like to play in the house,” said Verhaeghe. “It was really nice to hear the building blow up, it was great to get the win at home.”
The road teams were 46-37 in the first three rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs, including Florida 8-1 and Vegas 6-2, but that trend did not continue in the Cup Final.
(Related: Complete coverage of the 2023 Stanley Cup Final)
The first four games in the Stanley Cup Final have not been won by a home team since 2017 (Pittsburgh Penguins and Nashville Predators). This has happened 13 times.
“We feel very comfortable,” Captain of the Golden Knights Mark Stone He said. “Every ice board is the same. Obviously there are different bounces on different sheets, but we feel quite comfortable. We liked a lot of what we did (in Game 3). We were having a great game… give them credit, they found a way to score a goal and win in time.” The extra, but there are a lot of things we liked, we just have to stick with it and make use of it.”
Video: Rosen, Goleti and Myers review Game 4 of the Cup Final
Teams that went 3-1 in the best-of-7 Stanley Cup Finals won the series 97.3 percent of the time (36-1).
Here are 3 keys to Game 4:
1. Cheetahs need to be special
Florida’s special teams were a problem during the first three games of the Final. They were outscored 6-1, with the only goal in Game 1 coming close.
The Panthers are zero-for-12 on the power play and 11-for-17 on penalty kicks (64.7 percent) against the Golden Knights.
Coach Paul Morris said he liked how Florida played with equal strength in game three. It outscored Vegas 3-0 at 5-v-5, but its power play and penalty kick needed adjustments.
“I think we’re kind of playing by force a little bit,” Verhaghe said of the power play.
2. Stay the course
Losing in Game 3 shouldn’t stop the Golden Knights from feeling like they’re playing the right way and taking control of the series.
They’re happy with their performance through most of the series, only lamenting struggling to get their legs in the first period of Game 3, not building on their 2-1 lead and leaving Tkachuk open for the net. The situation is 6 on 5 late in the third period.
For a lot of that, they can only tip their hat to the Panthers, specifically their goaltender Sergey Bobrovsky With the help of the crossbar behind him forward Ivan Barbashev He hit a 2-on-1 shot with 4:18 left in the third period of Game 3. Otherwise, the Golden Knights shouldn’t mess too much with what they did, because it mostly worked.
“We’re not going to change,” said Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy. “We don’t need that.”
3. Keep Shooting, Panthers
The Panthers totaled 66 shots in Games 1 and 2, both of which lost. They had 23 shots in Game 3 and won. But that doesn’t mean less is more in the photography department for them. In fact, the opposite is true.
Florida had 31 shots blocked by the Golden Knights and missed 21 more times, giving them a total of 75 shot attempts. So they were shooting, but their game-tying goal and extra-time goal were two examples of why getting it on the net was so important.
Verhaag’s shot from the point led to the rebound, which allowed Tkachuk to tie the game. Then, Verhaeghe’s quick wrist shot over the hash marks found its way into the net.
“We have to put ourselves in these positions to get good shots and do it,” said Verhaeghe. “They’re a really good team at blocking pucks and I think that’s definitely an area we need to improve on, getting pucks in. Anytime you put it on the net there’s opportunity, it creates havoc and you can get a lot of broken plays too.”
The expected lineup of the Golden Knights
Ivan Barbashev – Jack Eichel – Jonathan Marquessault
Riley Smith – William Carlson – Michael Amadeo
Brett Howden – Chandler Stephenson – Mark Stone
William Carrier – Nicholas Roy – Biker Keegan
Alec Martinez – Alex Pietrangelo
Bryden McNab – Shea Theodore
Nicholas Hague – Zack Whitecloud
scratched: Teddy bloggerAnd Paul CotterAnd Ben HuttonAnd Phil KesselAnd Kaidan KorczakAnd Brayden PaschalAnd Jerry Patera
injured: Laurent Brossuyt (lower body), Logan Thompson (unannounced)
Panthers expected lineup
Carter Verhaghe – Alexander Barkov – Anthony Duclair
Nick Cousins – Sam Bennett – Matthew Tkachuk
Ryan Lomberg – Anton Lundell – Sam Reinhart
Zack Dalby – Eric Steele – Colin White
Gustav Forsling – Aaron O’Cliff
Mark Steele – Brandon Montour
Josh Mahora – Radko Judd
scratched: Giovanni SmithAnd Mike BenningAnd Casey FitzgeraldAnd Evan FitzpatrickAnd Lucas CarlsonAnd Mac guzdaAnd Matt KierstedtAnd Grigory DenisenkoAnd Alexi HyponiemiAnd Macky SamoskiewiczAnd Connor BowmanAnd Patrick GilesAnd John LudwigAnd Santo KinonenAnd Callie Sgalen
injured: Ito lostarinen (unannounced) , Patrick Hornqvist (concussion)
Striker Lostarinen will miss his fourth consecutive game. … each team is expected to have the same lineup for Game 3.