DENVER ( Associated Press) — The Stanley Cup Finals-going Colorado Avalanche suffered major damage as they faced the two-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning.
When the puck dropped, the avalanche showed that they could use their momentum to offset the Tampa Bay players, who have been here, they did. And it is not sad for the person who hoisted the cup too.
Andre Burakovsky scored 1:23 in overtime to give Colorado a 4-3 win in Game 1 on Wednesday night and put the AVS in a series that is shaping up to be a classic. Burakovsky is one of only two Colorado players with a Stanley Cup ring, and it worked.
“I’ve been there, and I know the situation,” said Burakovsky, who scored two big goals in Game 7 of the East Finals against the Lightning in 2018, when he won it all with Washington. “I’ve been it though, and I know what to expect and the pace and what’s at stake here.”
motion? Furious. bets? Either Tampa Bay finished the first NHL three-peat in nearly four decades or the Colorado Corps’ first championship after years of playoff disappointments.
Avalanche with a quick start to how they can use their momentum to knock even the most experienced opponents back on their heels. Backstop by Darcy Kumper, undoubtedly now healthy after all option to start in goal, was on the offensive in a perfect 3 for 3 against the powerful power play of penalty kill Lightning.
“We had a good forecheck and we were very good at clearing the puck when we got the chance,” said forward Arturi Lehkonen.
An early penalty kill picked up the pace for Colorado, who opened the scoring on captain Gabriel Landeskog’s goal 40 seconds after Josh Manson’s penalty ended. The Manson—one of General Manager Joe Sackick’s expensive Trade Deadline pickups—is built to hold a stick miner with a number of big hits.
Avalanche’s other deadline takeover Lehcon also maintained its knack for scoring crucial goals. It was his third goal of the first period after Valery Nichuskin scored a second goal as part of a dominant performance across the ice.
“Huge X-factor,” said coach Jared Bedner. “He’s been doing that kind of thing for us for a few years.”
Tampa Bay’s latest addition also played a major role, with Nick Paul dismissing Colorado defenseman Jack Johnson in a loose puck for the first goal, which limited the damage and kept the defending champions in the game. Brandon Hegel, who has been hit and had a question mark to play, was beaten to a loose puck by Landeskog, an involuntary goal for reigning playoff MVP Andrei Vasilevsky, sneaking the opening shot under his left arm. Gave.
Of course, lightning rebounded.
In another example of making the Lightning the best team in the NHL in the last three years, he turned the tide in the second period with a 48-second goal from Ondrej Palt and Mikhail Sergachev.
“We’re playing a really good team and they’re not going to roll over and back down,” Bednar said. “They’re going to push back.”
So did his avalanche, with another big hitting in the third period, which Landeskog called a “resilient win”.
Colorado defeated Tampa Bay 38–23, and the losing side had no argument about the outcome of the first match of the series between two equally matched opponents.
“There are some positive signs for us in this game,” Lightning coach John Cooper said. “But the right team won the game, so give them credit for pulling it out.”
The arena was rocked by the start of the warmup for the first Stanley Cup final game in town in 2001 – the previous year the Avalanche had also won the Stanley Cup, with Sack serving as captain. Fans chanted, “We need the cup!” throughout the leadup and sometimes during the game, which was a performance of high-scoring hockey Which has been the standard throughout the season.
Tampa Bay’s top goalscorer of the last two title runs was back, with center Breyden Pointe returning to play his first game after injuring his right leg a month earlier.
Colorado still holds a series lead, despite playing without Nazem Qadri (right-hand thumb) and Andrew Cogliano (right-hander), who were injured in the previous series’ sweep of Edmonton in the Western Conference Finals.
The Avalanche swept Nashville in the first round as well, and sent rival St. Louis to six before knocking out Conor McDavid and the Oilers. In any case, Game 1 against Lightning showed that this series will not be easy for either team.
“I don’t think we’ve given them our best game in terms of a country’s mile,” Cooper said. “To beat a team like this, we need to do better within ourselves.”
Follow Associated Press Hockey writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter https://twitter.com/SHowno
More Associated Press NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports