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Stanley Cup Final Game 4 preview: Panthers look to even series

The Florida Panthers avoided going down 3-0 with their win in Thursday's Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final.

After the Golden Knights took a 2-0 lead in the Final the series shifted to Florida, where the Panthers were able to get on the board and the teams remain down in South Beach for Saturday’s Game 4.

WhatFlorida Panthers v Vegas Golden Knights - Stanley Cup Final Game 4
WhereFLA Live Arena, Florida
When8 PM ET, Saturday June 10
How to watchCBC, SN
OddsFLA Panthers -120, VGS Golden Knights +100

Vegas takes a commanding lead

Most fans would agree that this match-up wasn’t the one we expected for the 2023 Stanley Cup Final, but the Golden Knights wasted no time capitalizing on the home ice advantage to begin the series.

They looked dominant and poised to end the Panthers’ Cinderella run with 5-2 and 7-2 victories in Games 1 and 2.

In fact, those 12 goals across the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final are tied for the most all-time. They’ve been led by Jonathan Marchessault, who is -140 to win the Conn Smythe Trophy.

Vegas is currently -280 to win the first Stanley Cup in their brief franchise history.

Florida finds a way

Despite being the final team to earn a postseason berth, the Panthers have truly been a remarkable story, knocking off three of the top four seeds to make the 2023 Stanley Cup Final, including the record-setting Boston Bruins.

They truly needed the Game 3 win, as coming back from a 3-0 deficit in the Stanley Cup Final has happened just once in history.

It was none other than Matthew Tkachuk who tied the game with just over two minutes to go to force overtime. Then, just as he knocked off the Bruins, Carter Verhaeghe scored the game-winning goal.

Following the win, the Panthers are still +230 to win the 2023 Stanley Cup.

What to expect in Game 4

So, the question now is, how will Game 4 play out? The series remains in Florida, where the Panthers will need to continue producing their magic.

It truly is the best way to describe their current run, as advanced metrics often have them on the losing side of things. It certainly makes sense, as there were several saves by Florida goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky that were certainly above expected. Similarly, their overtime game-winning goal was their only shot in the extra session.

To expand on that, it was also Florida’s first-ever Stanley Cup Final win, having been 0-6 prior to Game 3.

On the Vegas side of trends, they had been 10-0 this postseason when trailing after the second period before Thursday night. While most would expect Jack Eichel to be the primary reason for their success, it truly has been Marchessault.

Following his powerplay goal in Game 3, he’s now scored 13 goals over Vegas’ last 13 games.

Florida’s star has been Tkachuk, but it’s worth keeping an eye on him during Game 4. He suffered a brutal hit in Game 3, causing him to miss time going to the locker room. Of course, he returned, but it was certainly not a sight any Florida fan wanted to see.

Heading into Saturday’s Game 4, we have another very evenly priced game, which is expected.

Florida remains the slight fancy primarily due to  home ice advantage, while it will almost certainly swap to Vegas when the series returns there for Game 5. The Panthers will need their role players to step up to even up the series 2-2, such as Brandon Montour. He scored the first goal of Game 3 after not recording a single point in 10 straight games.

We should be in for another physical, close match-up in Game 4 that will surely prove to be a pivotal win for whichever team can secure it.

Currently, Vegas is +100 to win Game 4, while the Panthers are -120.

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