< /p> Stanley Cup Finals – Game 4: Florida Panthers – Vegas Golden Knights, June 10, 2023. Chandler Stephenson (left) of the Vegas Golden Knights shoots a goal, right, goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky of the Florida Panthers.
Sunrise (USA) – The Vegas hockey players won the NHL finals on the ice of Florida 3:2, lead the series 3:1 and are one win away from winning the first Stanley Cup in the club's history. Chandler Stephenson, who scored the first two goals of the match and has already scored ten goals in the playoffs, brought the guests closer to victory. The Golden Knights can wrap up the series at home on Wednesday night, when Game 5 is scheduled for 2:00 CEST.
Stephenson opened the scoring after just 99 seconds of the game from a breakaway and increased the score in the 28th minute with a shot from the circle. At 31:04, William Karlsson got Vegas into a three-goal blockbuster from the goal post over defender Radko Gudas.
“Everybody knew what was going on. We were trying to get into the game to quiet their fans,” Stephenson said. “But the most important thing was that we all followed the system and went shift after shift. This is how we have to play next time as well. It's a cliché, but it's true. Now we're full of adrenaline, emotions. We're one win away from fulfilling our dream,” he added.< /p>
Brandon Montour gave Florida hope at the end of the middle period, whose shot bounced off the skates of two visiting defensemen into the goal. Aleksander Barkov took care of the contact goal in the 44th minute. However, the almost two and a half minute long game of the home team without a goalkeeper did not bring another change in the score.
“It was a fight until the last second. They pushed us, we knew they would. They play like this all series. It's great that we kept the win,” Vegas forward Nicolas Roy sighed. “We were in their zone (from the second goal) the rest of the game. That's how it goes when a team needs to catch up. They probably pulled a little more, but we also have a lot of confidence. The guys did an amazing job,” praised teammates Florida leader Matthew Tkachuk, who missed most of the third period due to injury.
Vegas players entered the game actively and the initial rush was crowned by Stephenson, who got behind the home defense after a pass by Zach Whitecloud and finished the drive between the concrete of Sergey Bobrovsky. The game was even for the rest of the first period, but the score was not.
The middle section belonged to the guests. Although they did not use their only power play in the beginning of the game, they jumped to 3-0 in the rest of the game. Stephenson increased with a millimeter shot, after which the puck went into the goal with the clink of the stick. Not even Gudas prevented the third goal. The Czech defender first blocked the shot, but only at the feet of Karlsson, who promptly tapped the puck into the open goal.
Florida was brought back into the game by a discreet action. Montour threw the puck from the right post to the goal, and after a rebound, the puck ended up behind Adin Hill. Defenders Brayden McNabb and Shea Theodore apologized to the Vegas goalkeeper, who took the whole situation with a smile.
The home team attacked at the beginning of the third period and Barkov dramatized the match with the first goal in the series. The team captain hit from the right circle to the near post. Florida continued to threaten mainly from jams, but also opened the back door. In Vegas' best chance, the agile Jonathan Marchessault ran away from Gudas along the right bar, but he did not score for the first time in the finals.
In the previous game, the home team turned around from 1:2, while forcing extra time in the game without a goalkeeper, in which they decided on the win. This time, however, they did not repeat the same scenario, even though they still played six against four in the last 17 seconds and forced the pressure. After winning a throw-in and a shot, they created a scrum in front of Hill's goal, but the visitors held on. “It's a shame that we didn't have a few more seconds,” regretted Tkachuk, who pulled up with the horn.
Both teams kept to the discipline and had one player sent off until the final whistle. Immediately after the siren, however, a mass scuffle broke out on the ice, for which the referees awarded 28 penalty minutes. The most active on the Vegas side was goalkeeper Hill, who delivered a couple of blows to Carter Verhaeghe and Sam Bennett with a jumper and a catch. “I lost my helmet and they had six players on the ice and we only had four. So I tried to get involved to help my teammates a little bit,” explained Hill.
Montour and Tkachuk received a ten-minute penalty for the home team, who, despite his injury, started the game at the end of the match. “He's been a fighter all his life and he did it again. We were waiting for a situation where we could use him. We were hoping to get a power play and of course I counted on him at the end of the game,” Florida coach Paul Maurice said of Tkachuk, the team's most productive player (11+13).
His charges already turned the series from 1:3 against the winner of the regular season in the opening round. “We're just looking at the next game. We want to win it and force them to go back to Florida. We already went through the same situation with Boston and knocked them out,” Tkachuk recalled.
Stanley Cup Final – 4 .match:
Florida Panthers – Vegas Golden Knights 2:3 (0:1, 1:2, 1:0)
Goals and assists: 37. Montour (Barkov), 44. Barkov (Montour, Lundell) – 2 .Stephenson (Whitecloud, Mark Stone), 28. Stephenson (Mark Stone, Hague), 32. W. Karlsson (Hague, Marchessault). Referee: Kozari, McCauley – Cherrey, Kovachik. Exclusion: 4:2, plus Montour and M. Tkachuk (both Florida) 10 min. No use. Shots on goal: 31:31. Spectators: 19,986. Stars of the match: 1. Stephenson (Vegas), 2. Barkov (Florida), 3. Mark Stone (Vegas). Series status: 1:3.
Florida: Bobrovsky – Ekblad, Forsling, Montour, M. Staal , Gudas, Mahura – Duclair, Barkov, Cousins - M. Tkachuk, Bennett, Verhaeghe – 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.