After securing their first Stanley Cup game victory in franchise history in game three, the Panthers lost a deflating game four to fall behind 3-1 in the series. The energy in Sunrise was unimaginable at the conclusion of game three. I’ve been to many big sporting events across a number of different sports, and very rarely have I ever seen a fan base as joyous as Cats’ fans were following their first Stanley Cup game win ever.
The joy of the Panthers’ game three win quickly wore off as the Knights came into game four refocused and jumped out to a 3-0 lead. The Cats clawed back into it and found themselves down 3-2 but failed to put the puck in the back of the net during a flurry in front of the goal over the final few minutes.
Now the series heads back to Vegas with the Golden Knights only one win away from their first Stanley Cup championship in franchise history. The Panthers are no strangers to having their backs against the wall. In round one of this year’s postseason, Florida found themselves down 3-1 and heading back to Boston to face this season’s President’s Trophy winners. The Panthers pulled off three straight improbable upsets including a game seven overtime win to advance and keep this season alive.
The Cardiac Cats will look to recapture that magic now on the biggest stage in hockey. This Stanley Cup Final run has already been one of the most unlikely in league history and coming back from a 3-1 deficit would only further that trend.
The Panthers will go into game five needing to follow the recipe from their game three win if they want to get back into this series. After little to no production from their top players in games one and two, Tkachuk, Verhaeghe and Montour all stepped up in game three and Bobrovsky was brilliant behind them.
The Panthers will need that version of ‘Bob’ to show up for the rest of the series if they want any chance at pulling off the comeback. Florida will also need their stars to show up consistently, lead by Matthew Tkachuk who is listed as day-to-day after being involved in numerous brutal collisions throughout the series.
The Cats’ first chance to stave off elimination and keep their Stanley Cup hopes alive will be on Tuesday night in a sold-out T-Mobile Arena. The energy and showmanship will be at an all-time high in Sin City as Vegas looks to close things out on their home ice. The puck will drop around 8:20pm after an on-ice show that only Vegas can produce and will be televised on TNT. If the Panthers stay alive, they’ll return home for game six on Friday, but for now the Cats are just taking things one game at a time.
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