SUNRISE, Florida — Who played well in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final? Sometimes it’s easy to tell, sometimes it’s not. NHL.com rated the players on the Florida Panthers win 3-2 against the Vegas Golden Knights at FLA Live Arena on Thursday. Here are the players and trends that stood out the most.
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Matthew Tkachuk (Florida Panthers): Tkachuk was decisive again, scoring the game-tying goal at 17:47 of the third period to send the game into overtime. He also avoided the penalty area for the first time in the series. If Tkachuk stays disciplined, he’ll give the Panthers the best chance to even the series in Game 4 on Saturday.
Video: VGK@FLA, Gm3: Tkachuk sends a loose puck in the 3rd.
Jonathan Marchessault (Golden Knights of Las Vegas): The forward scored his 13th goal of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the second half and assisted on mark stoneGoal in the first half. Marchessault remains Las Vegas’ hot hand (four goals, two assists in three Cup Final games) and is a contender for the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.
Video: VGK@FLA, Gm3: Marchessault posts PPG lead in second
Las Vegas Special Teams: The Golden Knights scored twice on the power play and stopped all five of Florida’s chances in the man advantage. The power play has been hit or miss for most of the season for Las Vegas, but timely goals are emerging in the final.
Sergei Bobrovsky (Florida Panthers): Bobrovsky was spectacular at the net. He returned to the form that led the Panthers to the finals after allowing eight goals in the first two games of the series and being pulled in Game 2. Bobrovsky made 25 saves, including 20 in 5-on-5 games.
Video: VGK@FLA, Gm3: Bobrovsky stops Theodore and Howden
Carter Verhaeghe (Florida Panthers): Scored the game-winner on a wrist shot in overtime to give the Panthers their first Stanley Cup Finals victory in their history.
Video: VGK@FLA, Gm3: Verhaeghe sends wrist in OT
brandon montour (Above): The new dad scored the first goal of the game. The Panthers defenseman missed some time with an injury in the third quarter. He had three shots in 25:37 of ice time.
Video: VGK@FLA, Gm3: Montour ends Tkachuk’s drive at 1st
Florida Defense (Top): The Panthers did a much better job of keeping the Golden Knights out of the offensive zone and showed more presence at prechecks. Florida was winning stick battles which they were losing in the two games in Las Vegas. It looks like Florida’s defense is getting back into shape against Bobrovsky.
william carrier (Below): The Golden Knights striker took three penalties and did not fire on goal.
shea theodore (Above): The Golden Knights defenseman had the 50th assist of his career in the playoffs. tied up partner Alex Pietrangelo for fewest games (105) to reach the milestone for a defenseman.
Florida Discipline (Below): The Panthers continued to give Vegas the man advantage, receiving eight penalties. While they managed to control their emotions, they need to stay out of the penalty box with the Golden Knights’ power play heating up.
FLA Live Crowd (Top): From the pregame festivities with Flo Rida to the moment Verhaeghe scored, the fans brought the energy — and the rats — to help the Panthers pull off a 2-1 series.
what we learned
Vegas leans on experience
As they have all season, the Golden Knights will look to their experience to bounce back after an overtime loss. They have outscored opponents 24-10 after losses. Expect Vegas to get its best foot forward in Game 4.
Panthers Gaining Momentum
The Panthers emphasized how much they needed to win Game 3 to make it a series. They achieved that. Now they must bottle up the energy and performance of Game 3 if they want a chance to return to Las Vegas with the even series.