Chandler Stephenson scored twice, William Karlsson buried the game-winning goal in the second period and the Vegas Golden Knights defeated the Florida Panthers 3-2, taking a commanding 3-1 series lead in the Stanley Cup Final.
Vegas is in position to win its first-ever Stanley Cup on home ice when the series resumes Tuesday.
Stephenson scored the game’s opening goal one minute and 39 seconds into the contest as Zach Whitecloud sprung him on a breakaway and he made no mistake, depositing the puck past Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. After holding a 1-0 lead through the first intermission, Stephenson scored again in the second period, receiving a cross-ice feed from Mark Stone and one-timing a laser past Bobrovsky, who had no chance.
Karlsson added a third goal with just under nine minutes remaining in the second frame after Nicolas Hague’s wrist shot caromed off Bobrovsky for a massive rebound.
Florida scored its first goal of the evening when Aleksander Barkov won a puck battle along the boards, tipped the puck back to Brandon Montour and his shot pinballed off Brayden McNabb and Shea Theodore, leaving Golden Knights goaltender Adin Hill helpless.
Barkov cut the Golden Knights’ lead to 3-2 just under four minutes into the third period, one-timing a feed from Montour for his first goal of the final. After pulling Bobrovsky, the Panthers called a timeout with 45.7 seconds to direct its best six-man unit to no avail.
Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo took a minor penalty with 17 seconds remaining after flipping the puck over the glass and with an empty net, Panthers forward Carter Verhaeghe almost one-timed the game-tying goal with four seconds remaining but Hill remained composed and closed the game out amid a furious scramble.
Hill was outstanding, making 29 saves while Bobrovsky recorded 28 stops in the loss.