DENVER ( Associated Press) — The Tampa Bay Lightning ruined Colorado’s party to continue the hunt for a third straight Stanley Cup title with a 3-2 win over the Avalanche on Friday night in Game 5.
Ondřej Palat scored with 6:22 left and Andriy Vasilevskiy saved 35 shots in front of a rowdy crowd looking to celebrate the Avalanche’s first league title in 21 years. The whole goblet sparkled in the building too.
He returns to Tampa for Game 6 on Sunday night. The Lightning trailed the best of the seven series 3-2.
Nikita Kucherov and defenseman Jan Rutta also scored for Molniya. Valery Nichushkin and Cale Makar scored goals for Colorado. Makar’s score in the third period bounced off Eric Chernak’s skate and went through Vasilevskiy’s pads to tie the score at 2.
This set the stage for Palath, whose throw slipped through the pads of Darcy Kemper. A brief silence hung over the crowd.
Tampa Bay regrouped after an emotional loss in Game 4 at home to an overtime goal by Colorado forward Nazem Kadri. The Lightning felt that the Avalanche may have had too many players on the ice for a winner.
Too many players on the ice were called out on Friday in Colorado with 2:43 left. The Lightning went on with the powerplay and made it so Colorado couldn’t get Kemper out with about 30 seconds left. They weathered Avalanche’s final squall.
It’s just that the Lightning demonstrate their champion character. They had already won back a 3-2 lead over Toronto in the first round and climbed out of the hole 2-0 against the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Completing this series of comebacks will put them in a completely different category. Only one team rallied to win Game 7 in the Finals after losing the series 3-1 to the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs.
This is a tough Lightning squad that won’t let up, even against the fast Avalanche team, and even after all the competition they’ve been in. Tampa Bay has played in 67 postseason games since the start of the first round in 2020. Basically, it’s a whole extra season.
Their determination impressed Lightning coach John Cooper. His team improved to 3-0 this season when faced with potential knockout games.
The Avalanche are trying to win their first title since 2001. The Avalanche fans were in full force, both inside the building (a ticket to a higher level on the day of the game cost about $ 1,500), and outside at the next party.
Colorado knew it wouldn’t be easy. Makar said entering the game was “the most challenging we’ve ever had”.
Avalanche – 2 on 2 away to the Stanley Cup Final. They also won in 1996, which was their first season in Denver since moving from Quebec.
Shortly after Nichushkin equalized at 1 in the second, Kucherov scored a goal from the post. The purpose of the power play was with Alex Killorn in the box for holding, along with JT Comper (holding the stick) and Makar (stumbling), creating a 4 on 3 situation.
Rutta knocked some of the energy out of the crowd with his first playoff goal. It was a click from the side, slipping through Kemper.
For the Lightning, this bodes well – teams that score the first goal, looking to be eliminated in the final – 55-25.
“If we had a choice, we would just write our name all over the circle (of the cup),” Cooper said before the game.
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