SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — It can be done. That will be the thinking of the Florida Panthers over the next few days as they try to come back from a 3-1 deficit in the Stanley Cup Finals.
And they’ll think that for a good reason – because they’ve done it once before.
Here they go again. The Panthers rallied after a 3-1 series hole in the first round against the Boston Bruins, and now they’ll have to do it again in this game against the Vegas Golden Knights. Game 5 is on Tuesday night in Las Vegas, with the hosts fresh off winning the Cup for the first time.
They may have even started laying the groundwork for a final comeback try of the season by the way they finished Game 4 – a 3-2 win for Vegas, but one where the Golden Knights saw a lead. from 3-0 that looked like they were in cruise control mode turns into a one-goal game early in the third on a goal by Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov.
But the equalizer Florida wanted never happened, even after pulling goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky for an extra forward with about 2 1/2 minutes left and getting a power play for the final 17.4 seconds. When the final horn sounded, there was a flurry of punches thrown, a pile of bodies buried in the ice. Tempers flared, but nothing found the back of the net.
And now it’s simple: Win three games in a row, or this Stanley Cup playoff run won’t be crowned with the Cup victory.
The 3-1 comeback down has happened twice in the same playoffs once before. Minnesota passed it in 2003; the Wild did it in Rounds 1 and 2.
But in the Cup final, that only happened once – and that was just 81 years ago. Toronto actually trailed the 1942 title streak 3-0 to Detroit and eventually rallied to win the next four games.
This further complicates matters: Vegas hasn’t had a three-game losing streak since January. Florida’s Cup hopes hinge on changing that.
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