(Reuters) – The Vegas Golden Knights will not shy away from making adjustments after the Florida Panthers beat them in overtime on Thursday to cut their lead in the best-of-seven Stanley Cup Finals to 2-1, said coach Bruce Cassidy.
Playing for a raucous home crowd, Florida’s All-Star Matthew Tkachuk flicked the equalizer into the net with scarcely more than two minutes left in the third period before centre Carter Verhaeghe clinched it with a wrist shot through traffic in OT.
Cassidy said he had few quibbles with his Golden Knights’ performance but would look for chances to improve before they play in Florida again in Game 4 on Saturday.
“I thought we played smart, shutdown hockey in the third period and tried to extend the lead – that’s what we try to do when we have the lead, we don’t want to go into a shell,” he told reporters on Friday.
“We’re not going to beat ourselves up over yesterday’s game, we’re going to do what we’ve always done: We’re going to look at where we can get better and keep growing our game and hopefully be better in Game 4.”
Vegas looked as though they had hit the jackpot with their underdog opponents when they sliced through the Panthers in the first two outings. But Cassidy said they have no choice but constantly to evolve their game.
“When you get this far, neither team wants to stray too far from what they’ve done because they’ve both been successful,” said Cassidy.
“We certainly feel the first three games have been way more good than bad … the guys know what’s at stake.”
(Reporting by Amy Tennery in New York; Editing by Ken Ferris)