Florida Panthers forward Carter Verhaeghe found the back of the net in overtime to avoid a 3-0 deficit in the Stanley Cup Finals, defeating the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2 at home.
The Panthers had yet to lose in overtime in these playoffs, going 6-0 in golden goal situations prior to this period.
Verhaeghe made sure to keep the streak alive as he lobbed the puck past Golden Knights goalkeeper Adin Hill, much to the delight of the home crowd, who reacted accordingly.
The goal felt like a sigh of relief to Panthers fans in the stands and those watching from home, as a loss in Florida would have put the Golden Knights within one victory of the trophy.
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As we’ve seen with these Panthers, the last wild card in the Eastern Conference, this postseason: one win can change an entire series.
Verhaeghe would not have had a chance to score the overtime game-winner had it not been for Matthew Tkachuk scoring yet again with his 11th goal in the Stanley Cup playoffs that tied the game at two late in the game. third period.
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With 2:13 remaining in the game, Florida had the net empty for the extra spiker to get on the ice. The Panthers have scored numerous times in these settings, and Tkachuk found himself with the puck on his stick and tons of net to work with after Hill saved an opening shot on goal.
Tkachuk tucked him in, and just like that, the Panthers were back in business.
Florida did a better job Thursday of staying within winning range after things didn’t go very well in Games 1 and 2 in Las Vegas, where the Golden Knights took a commanding 12-goal lead to the Panthers’ four.
Brandon Montour scored first as Florida started the game, scoring his seventh playoff goal thanks to Tkachuk’s 13th assist and Marc Staal’s third.
However, the Golden Knights responded late in the first, with Mark Stone hooking his eighth goal of the playoffs on a power play opportunity.
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In the second half, Jonathan Marchessault, who seems to be scoring on a whim of late, scored his 13th goal of the playoffs on another Golden Knights power play. Superstar Jack Eichel had his 17th assist while Stone got his 11th to put Las Vegas into a brief 2-1 lead.
Florida’s best defense blocked the Golden Knights and they took advantage of their chance late in the third.
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Was this the series-changing win the Panthers needed? Game 4 on Saturday will decide whether that’s the case with the puck drop at 8 pm ET in Sunshine, Florida.