Rebecca Blackwell / AP
Saturday, June 10, 2023 | 2:19 p.m.
SUNRISE, Fla. — It might not be such a big secret why the Golden Knights have responded well after losses this season.
“I think it’s because we’re a good team,” coach Bruce Cassidy said.
The Golden Knights wouldn’t be two wins away from the Stanley Cup if they weren’t good. They also wouldn’t be halfway to their first-ever championship if they didn’t find that extra gear to bounce back after defeat.
While the 18-12 record after a loss during the regular season is impressive, the Golden Knights are 3-1 these playoffs coming off a loss; the lone defeat coming in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final against Dallas.
Vegas went on to win 6-0 in Game 6.
The Golden Knights aren’t facing mounting pressure after the Florida Panthers rallied to steal Game 3 of the Cup Final and cutting the series lead to 2-1 in favor of Vegas. Their track record of bouncing back gives confidence to why the Golden Knights feel they can rebound in Game 4 tonight at FLA Live Arena.
“I think some of that has to do with the experience and the veteran leadership on the team,” center Jack Eichel said, “but also just the character of the guys and our ability to come back after losing games and having a good performance.”
The Golden Knights have bounced back emphatically after a loss this postseason.
Following the 5-1 loss in Game 1 of the first round against Winnipeg, Vegas answered with a 5-2 win. The Golden Knights answered a 5-1 loss to Edmonton in Game 2 with a 5-1 win of their own in Game 3, then followed the 4-1 loss in Game 4 with a 4-3 win in Game 5 back at home.
The only blemish was the Golden Knights losing 4-2 in Game 5 at home against the Stars, missing on a chance to close the series at home.
While the consensus of the Golden Knights’ locker room says they did a lot of good things in the 3-2 overtime loss in Game 3 on Thursday, there are adjustments to be made. Vegas captain Mark Stone noted how gave the Panthers too much open ice down the middle, which led to two of Florida’s goals.
“I think it matters in the result,” Stone said. “We could’ve lost that game 7-1, but it still feels the same. It’s a loss.”
Vegas has also gotten good production from Adin Hill when he’s needed to rebound.
Hill followed up the Game 4 loss to Edmonton with 32 saves in Game 5, then 38 straight stops in the Game 6 clincher two nights later. Against Dallas, Hill followed the 39-save effort in the Game 4 overtime loss with 30 saves in Game 5 and kept it tied midway through the third before the Stars pulled away.
The 23 shots Hill faced on Thursday were tied for the fewest he’s seen this postseason in a start.
“We’re certainly not immune from taking time to find our game,” Cassidy said. “But I think in general, it’s probably calm in goal and a veteran group that knows what’s at stake.”
The Golden Knights won’t change from the course that got them here. The lineup isn’t expected to change, and Cassidy reiterated there’s no need to deviate from the gameplan that’s worked in 14 victories before.
Most notably, in the three wins after a loss.
“We know they’re going to have our best, and we’re going to have to match their intensity,” Eichel said. “That’s the beauty of the game.”
Golden Knights projected lineup
Ivan Barbashev – Jack Eichel – Jonathan Marchessault
Reilly Smith – William Karlsson – Michael Amadio
Brett Howden – Chandler Stephenson – Mark Stone
William Carrier – Nicolas Roy – Keegan Kolesar
Alec Martinez – Alex Pietrangelo
Brayden McNabb – Shea Theodore
Nicolas Hague – Zach Whitecloud
Game 4, Stanley Cup Final
When: 5 p.m.
Where: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise, Fla.
Radio: Fox Sports 98.9 FM/1340 AM
Odds: Panthers -115, Golden Knights -101; O/U 5.5 (Westgate SuperBook)