Golden Knights go up 3-1 on Panthers behind Chandler Stephenson's big night

The Vegas Golden Knights had to watch Chandler Stephenson and the Washington Capitals celebrate a series-clinching win at T-Mobile Arena in Game 5 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final.

The Golden Knights now will have a chance to celebrate the franchise's first NHL championship at their home arena in Game 5 after Stephenson's big game on Saturday night.

He scored twice, his first career goals in the championship round, to help defeat the Florida Panthers 3-2 in Game 4, sending Vegas home with a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

"We wanted to push as best we could and take their fans out of it," Stephenson told reporters.

Game 5 will be Tuesday (8 p.m. ET, TNT) in Las Vegas. A closer look at Game 4.

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Vegas Golden Knights forward Chandler Stephenson celebrates his goal against Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.

Chandler Stephenson comes up big for Golden Knights

Stephenson opened the scoring 1:39 into the game, beating Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky five-hole after breaking in alone.

He put the Golden Knights up 2-0 in the second period, one-timing a pass from captain Mark Stone.

"He's starting to shoot," Stone told NHL Network. "The guy doesn't like shooting. He likes to find his teammates. He's a really unselfish guy, but we're starting to push him to shoot the puck and he's got one of the best shots on the team and came up huge for us."

William Karlsson, an original Golden Knight, put Vegas up 3-0 on a rebound before Florida made it close.

New dad Brandon Montour scored on a shot that bounced off two Golden Knights players before going past Adin Hill. Montour also set up captain Aleksander Barkov for his first goal of the series.

But Hill and the Golden Knights held off a furious Panthers surge with Bobrovsky pulled.

Panthers, Golden Knights get into huge scrum as game ends

Players went after each other and fans threw objects on the ice as the final buzzer sounded.

When all was sorted out, Hill was called for unsportsmanlike conduct, Montour for charging and a misconduct and Matthew Tkachuk two for slashing, two for unsportsmanlike conduct and a misconduct.

Tkachuk has been called for four misconducts in the series.

Jack Eichel, Matthew Tkachuk return from Game 4 injuries

Eichel had left the ice in Game 2 after a big hit from Tkachuk but was able to return.

He also left Game 4 after being hit in the neck by teammate Jonathan Marchessault's shot in the second period. But he got back on the ice less than four minutes into the third period.

Tkachuk, who left Thursday's game after a big hit, appeared to be hurting late in the second period of Game 4 and skated only four shifts in the third period. He sat from the 4:18 mark to the 14:59 mark, then was out on the ice for the final 2:26 as Florida pressed to tie the game.

“He’s been a grinder his whole life and he was again tonight," Panthers coach Paul Maurice said. "We were just hoping to get into a situation where we could use what he had to give us.”

Tkachuk didn't talk about what was bothering him, but he did talk about how to come back from a 3-1 deficit as the Panthers did in the first round against the Boston Bruins.

"Just go out there and win one game and force them to come back to Florida. ... Boston had it packed up and ready to move to the next round when we played them," he told reporters. "We thought short-term get it back to Florida then and we're going to do the same thing now."

Brooks Koepka wears Aaron Ekblad jersey

Star golfer Brooks Koepka wore an Aaron Ekblad jersey while banging the drum before the game at FLA Live Arena.

Why is that significant?

Koepka had held up a traffic cone at a March game and taunted Ekblad about a turnover he made during a loss to the New York Rangers. Ekblad said to Sportsnet at the time about Koepka: “We’re not buddies. Never be buddies.” But they have made up since.

An Ekblad mistake led to the first Golden Knights goal, though. He went to the bench for a line change while Zach Whitecloud had the puck in the neutral zone. Whitecloud fed Stephenson for the goal.

Stone blew past Ekblad before setting up Stephenson's second goal.

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