Panthers’ season in jeopardy after Golden Knights win Game 4
SUNRISE — There were no late-game heroics for the Panthers on Saturday night, and now their season hangs in the balance.
Two days after goals from Matthew Tkachuk and Carter Verhaeghe gave Florida hope, Vegas put the Stanley Cup nearly out of reach with a 3-2 victory at FLA Live Arena in Sunrise. The Golden Knights now lead the Stanley Cup Final three games to one, with the series headed back to Las Vegas.
Vegas got on the board early. Golden Knights center Chandler Stephenson, got behind Florida’s defense for a short breakaway, flicking a wrist shot past Sergei Bobrovsky less than two minutes into the game.
The second period proved fatal to the Panthers’ chances. Stephenson, who has 10 postseason goals, found the back of the net for the second time Saturday night, and William Karlsson scored his 11th goal of the playoffs to put the Golden Knights up 3-0.
Despite surrendering three goals, Bobrovsky kept the Panthers in the game for much of the contest. He made 28 saves on 31 shots.
Florida did claw a goal back and keep itself in the game late in the second period. Defenseman Brandon Montour scored his eighth goal of the playoffs when his shot careened off Golden Knights defensemen Brayden McNabb and Shea Theodore before getting past Vegas goalie Adin Hill.
Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov got the Panthers within one with a third-period goal — his first of the series — with 16:10 remaining. Despite pulling Bobrovsky for the final 2:26, Florida could not find the late goal that it needed to tie the game.
The Panthers will have their chance to salvage the series in Game 5 on Tuesday in Las Vegas.