TAMPA, Fla. — From the looks of Game 3, the Lightning have their mojo back. And the team couldn’t have better timing.
Tampa Bay secured its first win in the Stanley Cup final series against the Avalanche on Monday, defeating Colorado 6-2. The Avalanche maintain the series lead at 2-1.
The Lightning’s pace and speed matched what Colorado showed in the first two games. Tampa Bay found some momentum in the opening five minutes, but nearly lost it on a disallowed goal. The Lightning challenged Valeri Nichushkin’s score for offsides, prompting officials to overturn the goal.
The Lightning had some breathing room for a moment but Ondrej Palat’s high-sticking penalty proved costly as Colorado’s Gabriel Landeskog poked in a rebound past goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy for the 1-0 lead.
The Lightning didn’t take long to answer, though, as Anthony Cirelli worked the puck down the stretch of the offensive zone after receiving a pass from Zach Bogosian. The forward then moved across the crease and back-handed the puck on goaltender Darcy Kuemper to tie up the score at 1 with 6:58 remaining in the period.
The Lightning continued to capitalize on that momentum in the first with Palat scoring on a nice sequence with Steven Stamkos. Palat worked the right side of the ice and drop-passed the puck to Stamkos while moving to a wide-open left side, taking a shot on Kuemper for the 2-1 lead. It was the Lightning’s first lead of the series.
The first period resulted in 12 shots on goal for the Lightning, their highest tally of the series.
A goal-packed second period helped the Lightning extend their lead with contributions from four different players.
Nick Paul, who left the game at the end of the opening period, extended the Lighting’s cushion, but Landeskog answered on the power play for the second time of the night.
A few minutes later Stamkos scored on a turnaround maneuver in the slot, regaining Tampa Bay’s two-goal lead before Pat Maroon and Corey Perry (who broke a goal drought dating to Game 3 of the second round against the Panthers) added on. Maroon’s goal prompted a goalie change, giving Pavel Francouz his first start of the series.
Nikita Kucherov left the game toward the end of the third period after he was cross-checked into the boards by Devon Toews. Kucherov remained on the ice for the continuation of the power play, then left after taking a one-timer and appearing in some discomfort.
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