DENVER – The Stanley Cup was in the building and just waiting to be paraded by the ice.
Pack it. Go back to Tampa Bay.
Resistant Lightning spoiled the Colorado party to continue the hunt for a third straight Stanley Cup title, beating the Avalanche 3-2 on Friday night in Game 5.
Ondrej Palat scored the missing 6:22 for the final and Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 35 shots in front of a shrill crowd in hopes of celebrating the Avalanche’s first championship in 21 years.
“That’s what good teams do: you find a way,” Lightning striker Corey Perry said. “Keep connecting. That’s fun. That’s what hockey is all about, different guys showing up at different times.”
Game 6 is Sunday night in Tampa. The Lightning remains the best of the seven series 3-2.
“Listen, this is a big challenge for us,” Lightning striker Pat Maroon said. “An exciting challenge, too. You have to be excited about this challenge and accept it.”
The Cup was all bright and ready for the moment, almost waving the Avalanche from the sidelines. He returns to the road for the Avalanche, where he is 8-1 so far in his playoffs.
“We believe in our room that we can win every game we go out and play,” defender Devon Toews said. “We felt we had a decent game tonight, a pretty good game. Obviously tonight wasn’t enough.”
Nikita Kucherov and defender Jan Rutta also scored for the Lightning. Valeri Nichushkin and Cale Makar had goals for Colorado. Makar’s third-period account bounced off Erik Cernak’s skate and Vasilevskiy’s pillows to tie the game at 2.
That set the stage for Palat, whose shot slipped through Darcy Kuemper’s pillows. It was the sixteenth playoff goal of Palat’s career, which is just behind Brayden Point (18) in franchise history.
“I thought I played it well, I slipped,” Kuemper said. “He just found a small hole.”
The Tampa Bay regrouped after an emotional defeat in the fourth game at home in a goal from overtime by Colorado striker Nazem Kadri. The Lightning felt that the Avalanche could have too many players on the ice of the winner.
A similar scenario of many players on the ice unfolded on Friday, and this time it was called. With 2:43 left to the end, the Lightning went into the power play and made Colorado unable to pull Kuemper until the final moments. They coped with the late delay of the Avalanche.
Only lightning showing its worth for the championship. They already bounced back from a 3-2 disadvantage to Toronto in the first round and came out of a 2-0 hole against the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference finals.
Completing this win in the comeback series would put them in a completely different category. Only one team came back to capture a Game 7 in the final after losing 3-1 in a series: the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs.
This is a tough Lightning squad that shows no signs of slowing down against a fast Avalanche team and even after all the contests they have registered. Tampa Bay has played 67 postseason games since the start of the first round in 2020, almost an entire extra season.
His determination impressed Lightning coach Jon Cooper. His team has improved to 3-0 this season as they face possible playoffs.
“The mental strength you have to have to play in the environment they just played in, there’s a reason these guys have a couple of rings on their fingers,” Cooper said.
The Avalanche is trying to capture its first title since 2001. Avalanche fans came out with full force, both inside the building (a higher-level ticket on game day cost about $ 1,500) and outside at a nearby surveillance party.
“It’s not supposed to be easy nor is it going to be,” Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog said. “We knew that coming to this. We knew it was coming tonight. … Little memory in the playoffs and that’s what we’re going to do.”
The Avalanche are 2 of 2 on their visits to the Stanley Cup final. They also won in 1996, which was their inaugural season in Denver after moving from Quebec.
Shortly after Nichushkin tied at 1 each in the second, Kucherov threw a goal off the post. The power-play goal was with Alex Killorn in the area to hold on, along with JT Compher (holding the stick) and Makar (hitting), making a 4-on-3 situation.
Bednar was not exactly delighted with the call to Makar.
“There was no intention there. I don’t even think I was reviewing that guy,” Bednar said. “Look at me like you stumbled upon a stick. It’s hard.”
Kuemper finished with 26 stops.
“He was fine,” Bednar said. “I’d like to see him get the first one, obviously.”
That first would be Rutta’s score less than five minutes into the match that shattered some of the audience’s energy. It was his first playoff goal.
“We were here. We were down 3-1? No,” Cooper said. “But we have been in these situations where we know the feeling of being in a playoff game. …. Now it’s better two out of three and there’s no tomorrow if you lose. “
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Lightning wins Game 5, denying the Avs a chance to take the Stanley Cup
Source link Lightning wins Game 5, denying the Avs a chance to take the Stanley Cup