The Vegas Golden Knights were able to hold off a late rally from the Florida Panthers in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals Saturday night to win 3-2 to take a 3-1 series lead. Vegas had led by as much as 3-0 at one point in the game.
“They have to get their rest tomorrow,” head coach Bruce Cassidy said. “We’ll fly back. There’s going to be a lot of people in their ear when you’re one game away. Maybe take a day to enjoy that or deal with that.
“When we get back on the ice Monday, it’s time to get back to work and back to business. Our group has been very good at that. They understand what’s at stake.”
The series now shifts back to the confines of T-Mobile Arena for Game 5 of this series. That game is slated to start at 5 p.m. PST on Tuesday and can be seen on TNT nationwide.
The Knights currently lead the series 3-1 over Florida. With a win on Tuesday night, Vegas would capture their first Stanley Cup in team history.
Vegas built its three-goal lead throughout the first two periods of the game. Center Chandler Stephenson was responsible for the game’s two first goals a s he scored less than five minutes into the game and again with just over 12:30 to go in the second period.
“We just didn’t want to lose,” Stephenson said. “We wanted to push as best we could and take their fans out of it. I thought we did a lot of good things last game and just wanted to continue that tonight. Just try to have a killer instinct.”
These were Stephenson’s ninth and tenth goals of this year’s playoffs. He finished the game leading all goal scorers with two goals scored.
The third of the Vegas goals came off the stick of fellow center William Karlsson who netted his eleventh goal of the postseason when he got a feed from right-winger Jonathan Marchessault and defenseman Nicolas Hague with just under nine minutes to go in the second.
“William brings a lot of different aspects to the game,” captain Mark Stone said. “He wins faceoffs, kills penalties, plays on the power play, scores goals, defends goals. You see him out there in a lot of different situations. He’s scored some big goals for us along the way.”
Florida’s comeback trail began with a double-doink off two Golden Knights’ skates and into the net to cut the deficit down to 3-1 with 3:51 to go in the second.
The Panthers got another goal back in the third period when center Aleksander Barkov scored playoff goal number five this year with 16:10 to go in regulation.
From Barkov’s goal to the end of the game, the Panthers fired away shot after shot at Vegas goaltender Adin Hill who did not budge an inch between the pipes for the remainder of the game.
“That was a battle until the last second tonight,” center Nicolas Roy said. “They pushed back there. We knew they would. They’ve been doing that all series but it’s nice to get that one for sure.”
Hill finished the game saving 29 of the 31 shots he faced for a final save percentage of .935 in the Game 4 victory.
“It’s exciting,” Hill said about being one win away from the Stanley Cup. “We’re one win away from our goal. We’ll get rested, recover, and get ready for Tuesday.”