Keep the champagne chilled. It’s back to the slushy ice of Amalie Arena for the Colorado Avalanche after failing to defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Lightning overwhelmed Colorado with harder physicality, clogging the neutral zone and once again relying on goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy’s Firebolt reflexes to counter Colorado’s superior speed in a 3-2 win in Friday night’s Game 5 at Ball Arena.
Coach Jon Cooper found a way for the Lightning to finally bottle Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen to send the series back to Tampa with a chance to tie them in Game 6 Sunday night.
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Ondrej Palat sent the puck through the legs of Darcy Kümper with 6:22 in the third period to break a 2-2 tie, and Colorado was called for too many men on the ice with 2:38 left as they tried to achieve balance.
Cooper had complained 48 hours earlier that Colorado’s game-winner came on the ice with too many men in overtime, but the Avs didn’t get away this time.
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The whistles and breaks in Game 5 just didn’t suit Colorado’s taste. Neither did the calls as the Lightning slapped the Avalanche around with or without a puck on their sticks.
Tampa Bay went with four forwards when Avalanche star Cale Makar was booed for tripping in the second half during a 4-on-4 skate. Nikita Kucherov capitalized moments later by scoring just The Lighting’s second goal in 17 power play chances in the final.
Makar atoned with a goal early in the third period, which led to the 2nd
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The Lightning are now poised to tie the tie in Florida this weekend, where Avalanche center Nazim Kadri complained about the poor ice before scoring the Game 4 winner.
Makar said after that thriller that the Avalanche still wasn’t breathing out, insisting that a fourth win over back-to-back champions would be the hardest to come by.
Playing in their 67th playoff game since the first round of the 2020 playoffs, the Lightning kept alive their hopes of becoming the first team to win three straight Stanley Cups in the salary cap era.
They must also become the first team since the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs to recover from a 3-1 deficit and win the trophy.
One done, two left.
© 2022 The Associated Press
https://globalnews.ca/news/8947078/tampa-bay-lightning-win-game-five-colorado-avalanche/ Tampa Bay Lightning defeats Colorado Avalanche 3-2 in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals