How Vegas outmuscled Florida in Game 4 to move within a win of their first Cup

SUNRISE, FLORIDA – JUNE 10: Chandler Stephenson #20 of the Vegas Golden Knights, Stanley Cup Finals. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

The Vegas Golden Knights emerged victorious 3-2 in Game 4 against the Florida Panthers at FLA Live arena on Saturday.

The victory gave them a 3-1 series lead. It put them within a win of securing their maiden Stanley Cup championship. Here’s how it happened:

Stanley Cup Finals: Golden Knights Chandler Stephenson steps up

Chandler Stephenson stepped up after struggling to find the net in the series’ first three games.
Stephenson scored Vegas’s first two goals, giving them a 2-0 lead. His two tallies helped bring  Vegas within a win of the Cup.

The goals quickly sapped any momentum Florida had gained from their Game 3 victory. His first tally came 69 seconds into the contest off a slick feed from Zach Whitecloud. It allowed Stephenson to use his signature deke move to open up Sergei Bobrovsky’s pads and beat him five-hole to give his team the early lead.

Stephenson scored his second goal of the night off a one-timer from Mark Stone, which found the top shelf of the net. The center has continued his impressive performance from the regular season, where he achieved a career-high of 65 points. He has ten goals and 19 points in 21 playoff games.

Both goals came from Vegas’s relentless forecheck, which they’ve thrived on throughout the season. William Karlsson made it 3-0 with 8:56 to go in the second. Once again, strong forechecking led to this goal. The puck bounced to Nicolas Hague, whose shot on net was stopped. Karlsson then pounced on the rebound for his eleventh goal of the postseason.

At that point, it was clear Vegas had moved on from their overtime loss on Thursday. They spent Friday away from the rink and enjoyed South Beach. It helped them move forward, knowing they still led the series 2-1 and not backward.

The Golden Knights could’ve turned this into a laugher as they did with their 7-2 rout in Game 2. But a Reilly Smith post and crucial saves by Bobrovsky kept Florida in the contest.

The Panthers didn’t go away. They increased their tenacity. They raised their intensity and showed they could also do damage through their forecheck.

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