SUNRISE, Fla. — The Las Vegas Golden Knights are on the verge of winning their first Stanley Cup title in franchise history after defeating the Florida Panthers 3-2 in Game 4 on Saturday night.
Vegas leads the series 3-1 and could win the NHL championship on home ice Tuesday night. Getting to the brink wasn’t easy.
Chandler Stevenson scored twice for the Golden Knights to build a 3-0 lead as William Carlson stifled a series-long goal thirst.
The Panthers turned the game around with Brandon Montour scoring a pinball goal late in the second period and Alexander Barkov scoring the first goal of the series early in the third.
But they weren’t able to fight back, and Florida, the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference and the last team to qualify for the playoffs, came to the brink of ending this improbable turn of events.
Sergei Bobrovski nearly kept the Panthers afloat again, stopping 28 of 31 shots and conceding a goal when his teammates left him alone.
On the other side of the ice, journeyman goaltender Addin Hill made 29 saves for his 10th win since coming midway through the second round.
The Golden Knights, in their sixth year of existence, need only one more win to bring the championship to Las Vegas, achieving owner Bill Foley’s goal of winning the Stanley Cup during that period. They reached the finals in their first year of 2017-18, but lost to Washington in five games.
Vegas has more talent and definitely looks more ready for the spotlight this time around. The Capitals traded Stevenson and Hill, who beat them five years ago, as well as front-line center Jack Eichel and captain Mark Stone, who had two assists in Game 4.
Several original Knights players also helped take the penultimate step to hockey’s summit. Jonathan Marcheseau assisted Carlson’s goal to make it 3-0 and tied for 24th in the playoff scoring charts.
Then the Panthers made it interesting. Montur banked the puck from Brayden Montur’s right skate and scored with 3:51 remaining in the second period by hitting Shay Theodore’s right skate past Hill to score with a perfect 3:50 start behind the net. Pas set up Barkov. The third.
Without top scorer Matthew Tkachuk for several changes, Florida continued to rock with Hill at the center and kept the pressure on with a few more big stops from Bobrovski. Veteran Vegas defenseman Alex Pietrangelo’s 6-4 17.4-second advantage through the puck through the glass provided the final upset, but he couldn’t concede the team’s first power-play goal of the series. rice field.
The Panthers will also have a final breather in Game 5, but they will need to recreate their 3-1 comeback to Boston in the season opener to prevent a sweeping Las Vegas win.