Stanley Cup Final Game 5 preview
FiredUp Network Sports Writer
Tuesday, June 13, 2023
Lord Stanley's Cup will be in the building tonight as the Vegas Golden Knights look to hoist it high above their heads in celebration of their first NHL championship in Game 5 against the Florida Panthers.
These Golden Knights seized a 3-1 series lead on Saturday night behind two goals by Chandler Stephenson, then held off a fierce rally to win 3-2, before a huge scrum broke out at the end.
Although Vegas has only been a franchise for 6 years, this is their second trip to the Stanley Cup Final after losing in 5 games in 2018 to the Washington Capitals. They will try to secure their young franchise' first Stanley Cup trophy at home in Vegas. And if they do, it will be the fastest non-Original Six expansion team to win a cup, the 1973-1974 Philadelphia Flyers won in 7 seasons.
Don't expect the Panthers to quietly go into the night either though. They are 3-0 in elimination games this postseason and they overcame a 3-1 deficit in the first round against the record-setting Boston Bruins. The big question for Florida is Matthe Takachuk's health. He flew with the team to Vegas, but didn't practice on Monday. He came out of game 3 briefly after a big hit, but returned to score the tying goal. He was clearly hurting in Game 4, however, and was limited to just four shifts in the third period. They need a big game from Bobravsky, especially early in the game tonight. They have to find a way to compensate for a limited Tkachuk. The play of guys like Anton Lundell and Aleksander Barkov is key for the Panthers to win Game 5.
The Golden Knights just need to stay the course. Hill is playing lights out so far in the series in net and they are scoring throughout the lineup, playing strong defense, and blocking shots in front of Hill. They have cup champions on their roster like Pietrangelo and Barbashev who they will rely on in big spots tonight. Stay the course, and they will be crowned champions.
The puck drops at 8pm ET tonight at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Puck Line: Vegas -1.5 (+143), Money Line: Vegas -190, Florida +158, Over/Under: 5.5 goals