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NHL-No place like home for Panthers after Vegas take 2-0 series lead


(Reuters) – A humbled Florida Panthers squad will count on their home fans to help turn around a dismal start to their Stanley Cup Final campaign, after the Golden Knights took a 2-0 series lead in Las Vegas on Monday.

Vegas were considered the overwhelming favourites heading into the best-of-seven championship series and thus far Goliath has been firmly in control of David, with the Golden Knights clinching the first two games 5-2 on Saturday and 7-2 on Monday.

Florida get a reprieve from the bright lights of Sin City on Thursday, when they play Game 3 in front of the same home crowd that propelled their Cinderella run through the playoffs.

“Going home and playing in front of our amazing fans and the momentum we’ve had playing there, like the last month, and honestly since January we’ve been a solid home team and you know we’re going to need them,” forward Matthew Tkachuk told reporters.

The Golden Knights sent four pucks into the net before the Panthers finally got on the board on Monday, with Canadian centre Nicolas Roy getting the game winner with a second-period wrist shot off assists from William Carrier and Zach Whitecloud.

“Parts of our game we know we can improve we are going to have to get to real fast, there’s no doubt about that,” said head coach Paul Maurice.

“We’ll have a pretty simple game plan – I don’t think it’s about scoring goals in this series because I think it’s about defending the rush and we weren’t great at that.”

The Panthers play the Golden Knights at FLA Live Arena in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals in Sunrise, Florida.

(Reporting by Amy Tennery in New York; Editing by Toby Davis)

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