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The final game of the 2022-23 NHL season could come on Tuesday night, as the Vegas Golden Knights have a chance to close out the Stanley Cup Final against the Florida Panthers. Vegas holds a 3-1 series lead going into Tuesday night, and they carry all the momentum heading into this contest. But the Panthers are not going to quit in this game, as they look to keep their season alive and send this series back to Florida.
The Florida Panthers fell just short in their comeback attempt in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final. After falling behind 3-0 to the Vegas Golden Knights in that contest, the Panthers scored the final two goals of the game but were unable to put in a third to tie things up. Instead, the Panthers were denied at the doorstep by Adin Hill as time expired, leading to an all-out brawl between those on the ice after the final buzzer.
Once again, penalty minutes were a huge issue for the Panthers in Game 4, as they racked up 28 penalty minutes. Vegas, on the other hand, had just four penalty minutes for that entire game in what was a huge difference-maker. If the Panthers want any chance to win this game and keep their season alive, they need to keep themselves out of the penalty box on a consistent basis.
For the Panthers, a huge key will also be getting off to a fast start, as they have to contend with both the crowd and the Golden Knights. Letting Vegas score first would send T-Mobile Arena into a frenzy, as the fans there would sense that the first-ever title for their franchise was closer than ever before. Taking the crowd out of the game by scoring first would be simply massive for the Panthers.
The last time the Vegas Golden Knights made the Stanley Cup Final, they fell short in their goal of winning their first championship as a franchise. But they are just one win away from rectifying that wrong and lifting their first Stanley Cup on Tuesday night. In order to do that, the Knights are going to need to find a way to continue to put pressure on a Panthers team that has struggled to deal with it all series long.
The hero for Vegas in Game 4 of this series was Chandler Stephenson, who scored the first two goals of the game. All series long, the Golden Knights have spread out their scoring, and Stephenson being the hero with stars like Jack Eichel and Jonathan Marchessault being on the ice has only continued that trend. Whether Vegas can find a new hero in Game 5 remains to be seen.
Vegas’ physicality and discipline together has been commendable, as they outhit the Panthers by a 32-21 margin while only amassing four penalty minutes along the way. While tempers flared at the end of Game 4, it is important that the Golden Knights do not let their emotions and the pressure of this situation get the best of them. If they can continue to be aggressive yet controlled in that aggression, Tuesday could be the night for Vegas.
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Jay Sanin is a sports bettor and writer from New York. He has been handicapping since the moment he was old enough to gamble legally, with his specialties being niche sports like the WNBA and XFL. He’s been told he has a voice for radio. He also has a face for radio.More info on Jay Sanin
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