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Stanley Cup Final Game 5 preview: Vegas closing in on first Cup

The Vegas Golden Knights take their 3-1 series lead in the 2023 Stanley Cup Final back to T-Mobile Arena after splitting the two games in Florida against the Panthers.

WhatFlorida Panthers @ Vegas Golden Knights - Stanley Cup Final Game 5
WhereT-Mobile Arena, Paradise, Nevada
When8 PM ET, Tuesday June 13
How to watchbet365 Sports Live Streaming, CBC, SN
OddsFLA Panthers +155, VGS Golden Knights -175

Golden Knights shine brightest

Vegas took a commanding 2-0 lead in the 2023 Stanley Cup Final, outscoring Florida 12-4 in the process. 

While they fell 3-2 in overtime in Game 3 down in South Beach, they bounced back with a 3-2 win of their own in Game 4. 

Even in their Game 3 loss, many fans and analysts alike would argue that they were the better team. 

One of the most significant factors of that Game 3 was a hit on Florida’s Matthew Tkachuk. 

He was sent back to the locker room, and although he came back on the ice and even scored a late third-period goal to force overtime, he hasn’t looked the same since. 

Heading into Tuesday night’s Game 5, that could play a huge role in determining the outcome.

Florida desperate to force Game 6

Neither Florida nor Vegas has ever won a Stanley Cup. 

Granted, the Golden Knights have only been a franchise for a handful of seasons, and this is already their second Stanley Cup Final appearance. 

The Panthers' Cinderella run in the NHL Playoffs has certainly been incredible, but without a healthy Tkachuk, it looks difficult for them to have a fairytale ending. 

It’s clear that Tkachuk is not 100%. He played fewer than 17 minutes in Game 4, and worse yet, he was on the ice for just a few minutes in the critical third period. 

That’s when he’s been at his best, and one of the primary reasons Florida couldn’t force overtime. 

Even still, Vegas got out to a 3-0 lead and never looked back. 

Maurice philosophy has to work

If the Panthers are going to force a Game 6, it’s going to have to be based on head coach Paul Maurice’s philosophy paying dividends. 

Florida has gotten to the 2023 Stanley Cup Final through their physicality, but it’s been more to their detriment than benefit against the Golden Knights in this series. 

Rather than being intimidating and forcing errors, they’re simply getting caught with penalties. 

That’s become an even bigger issue as their penalty kill has been subpar at best. 

While all signs seem to point towards Vegas hoisting the Cup, a shift in that physicality providing benefit rather than penalties can certainly help Florida force a Game 6.

Panthers have to stop Marchessault

Similarly, they’re going to need to key on the connection between Jack Eichel and Jonathan Marchessault. 

Plenty of attention has been given to the phenom Eichel, but it’s been Marchessault finding the back of the net. 

After scoring a goal in 13 of the last 14 games for Vegas, he’s the favorite to win the Conn Smythe Trophy. 

In terms of the odds for Tuesday’s Game 6, Vegas is a -175 favorite to win Game 5 and close out the 2023 Stanley Cup Final, while the Panthers are +155 underdogs to prolong the series.

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