Florida Panthers – Vegas, June 8, 2023 NHL third playoff final. Florida's Matthew Tkachuk (right) celebrates the game-winning goal scored by teammate Carter Verhaeghe.
Sunrise (USA) – The Florida hockey players beat Vegas 3:2 in overtime in the third game of the NHL playoff final at home and reduced the series to 1:2. In the 65th minute, Carter Verhaeghe made the decision, completing the turnaround for the Panthers. In addition to him, his teammate Matthew Tkachuk scored a goal and an assist, and on the opposite side, Jonathan Marchessault and Mark Stone.
Defender Radko Gudas was not missing from the team of the home team, who resigned from the edge of the last match after a hard hit from Ivan Barbašev. The Panthers took the lead in the fifth minute thanks to Brandon Montour, and Stone equalized on the power play in the opening half. In the second period, Marchessault turned the score again in numerical advantage. At the end of normal playing time, Tkachuk sent the game to overtime while playing without a goalkeeper, in which Florida Verhaeghe secured the victory.
“We are like cats, we have several lives. We proved what a great team we have. None of us give up,” overseas media quoted Verhaeghe as saying. “Nobody said it was going to be easy,” Vegas forward Jack Eichel said.
Florida also won the seventh overtime in this year's elimination round and won for the first time in the final for the seventh time. In 1996, she went 0-4 in Colorado's final series. The Golden Knights are also seeking the first Stanley Cup in their history, falling short of Washington in the finals five years ago. In the wider squad of the Nevada team is the goalkeeper Jiří Patera, who in his debut in the NHL this season caught two duels and would have to be on the match roster in the finals to be included among the trophy holders.
The fourth game again on ledé Panthers is on the night from Saturday to Sunday from 2:00 CEST.
The guests started actively, but the Panthers scored first in the fifth minute. Tkachuk backhanded a pass from the block to Montour, who beat Hill with a shot under the crossbar. The Canadian guard celebrated the birth of his son in style with his seventh goal in this playoff. Lundell nearly added to Florida's lead, but he hit the post from close range after Lomberg's pass from the corner of the rink.
The Golden Knights tied the score in the 17th minute when captain Stone tipped in Marchessault's shot. Marchessault scored in the eighth game in a row.
The team from Nevada created several chances in the second period, but could not match Bobrovsky for a long time. However, he got a chance in the 35th minute, again from a power play. Eichel passed to Marchessault and he completed the turn with a quick shot from the circle.
The 32-year-old Canadian scored his 13th goal in these playoffs and tied Edmonton's Draisaitl for the top scorer. At the same time, he became only the third player in the last 35 years to score in each of the opening three final duels. Vegas also made history at the same time; only the New York Islanders scored at least two power-play goals in the first three Finals games in 1980.
In the third 20-minute period, Bobrovsky caught Amadi and Karlsson, Barbashev hit the post again. Instead, Florida came through in the 58th minute on the power play when Tkachuk headed in Verhaeghe's shot. The 25-year-old American, who missed part of the game due to a hit by Kolesar, scored his 24th point in this year's elimination games and surpassed Hintz from Dallas for the top Canadian scoring position thanks to a higher number of goals.
“We have a lot of confidence on offense. We've been top of the league in five-on-five all season. Just because we're in the Stanley Cup Finals doesn't mean we have to change a lot. But we definitely had to tweak a few things to be more successful than in Vegas , which we succeeded,” stated Tkachuk.
At the beginning of extra time, the guests did not use another power play that they carried over from the end of the third period, so Verhaeghe hit the top corner of the goal after a shot. “Normally, we're going to take shots like that and keep playing. It wasn't a mid-rink turnover, so I didn't mind the way we defended. Overall, we didn't do a bad job,” Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy said.
Stanley Cup Finals – Game 3 :
Florida Panthers – Vegas Golden Knights 3:2 in overtime (1:1, 0:1, 1:0 – 1:0)
Goals and assists: 5. Montour (M. Tkachuk, E. Staal), 58. M. Tkachuk (Verhaeghe, Ekblad ), 65. Verhaeghe (Bennett, Forsling) – 17. Mark Stone (Marchessault, Theodore), 35. Marchessault (Eichel, Mark Stone). Referees: O'Rourke, Sutherland – Murray, Barton. Exclusion: 8:7. Usage: 0:2. Shots on goal: 23:27. Spectators: 19,735. Stars of the match: 1. Verhaeghe, 2. Bobrovsky (both Florida), 3. Hill (Vegas). Series status: 1:2.
Florida: Bobrovsky – Ekblad, Forsling, Montour, M. Staal , Gudas, Mahura – Duclair, Barkov, Verhaeghe – M. Tkachuk, Bennett, Cousins - Reinhart, Lundell, Lomberg – Dalpe, E. Staal, Colin White. Coach: Maurice.
Vegas: Hill – Pietrangelo, Martinez, Theodore, McNabb, Whitecloud, Hague – Marchessault, Eichel, Barbashev – Mark Stone, Stephenson, Howden – Amadio, W .Karlsson, R. Smith – Kolesar, N. Roy, W. Carrier. Coach: Cassidy.