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Verhaeghe’s OT winner gives Game 3 of Stanley Cup to Panthers

Florida center Carter Verhaeghe picked the perfect time to score his seventh goal of the playoffs as he lit the lamp 4:27 into overtime of Game 3 in the Stanley Cup Finals Thursday, June 8. Vegas now leads the series 2-1 after taking the first two games inside T-Mobile Arena.

Aside from the goal, Verhaeghe also finished his night with an assist as he was recognized with the first star of the game honors.

“Sometimes, that happens to you,” head coach Bruce Cassidy said. “I thought we had some opportunities that didn’t go in, they had a couple that did. That’s hockey some nights. We’ll regroup tomorrow, look at the things we did well, and try to correct the stuff we need to finish the game. That’s where we let ourselves down tonight. We didn’t finish the game.”

The series remains in Sunshine, Florida for Game 4 of this best-of-seven championship series as the Panthers will either be able to tie the series at two apiece or Vegas will be able to grab a 3-1 series lead heading back to home ice for Game 5.

Puck drop for Game 4 is scheduled for Saturday, June 10th at 5 p.m. PST and can be seen on TNT nationwide.

While Verhaeghe’s game-winner might be the thing a lot of people are talking about after this one, it should be noted that it took an equalizing goal from left-winger Matthew Tkachuk to get the game knotted at two with 2:13 to play in regulation.

Up until Tkachuk’s goal, Vegas had scored back-to-back goals on the power play from Captain Mark Stone and right-winger Jonathan Marchessault to tie and take the lead. It’s Stone’s eighth goal of the playoffs while Marchessault collected his 13th of the postseason.

In addition, both goals went down as power play scores for the Knights. Through three games this Stanley Cup Finals, Vegas is 6-for-17 in power play opportunities.

“We didn’t capitalize on our chances,” Stone said. “We were playing a really good 5-on-5 game there, but we weren’t really capitalizing on our chances. We had two really good power play goals, and I thought we were playing a really solid game. We’ll regroup and get ready for Game 4.”

Marchessaut’s goal made him the third player in the last 35 years to score a goal in each of the first three Stanley Cup Finals games.

This all came after Vegas allowed the first goal of the game to defenseman Brandon Montour who netted his seventh postseason goal this year just over four minutes into the game to give the home team the early 1-0 lead.

Both goaltenders were recognized as stars of the game as Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky earned the second star of the game honors by saving 25 of the 27 shots he faced for a final save percentage of .926.

Opposing goaltender Adin Hill saved 20 of the 23 shots he faced for a final save percentage of .870, snapping a three-game streak of .900 or greater save percentage for the VGK.

“It’s not always gonna be perfect,” defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. “It was a good push by them. Yeah we would’ve loved to win it, we’re a minute and a half away. I thought we did a lot of good things throughout the game. We didn’t start great but thought we got to our game as the game progressed. We face a little adversity and we’ll get ready for the next game.”


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