The Tampa Bay Lightning needed several things to happen in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final at home After being blown out in Game 2: a better first period and a break.
Tampa Bay Lightning ran their home winning streak to eight games :
They got both and rode that to a 6-2 victory that cut their deficit against the Colorado Avalanche to two games to one and showed why they are two-time defending champions. They ran their home winning streak to eight games while the Avalanche lost for the first time on the road.
In both games in Denver, the Avalanche had scored three first-period goals winning 4-3 in overtime and 7-0. They seemed to get off to another immediate start when red-hot Valeri Nichushkin scored. But that’s when the break happened.
The Tampa Bay Lightning video team, after a deep examination, finally found a good angle, and Jon Cooper, coach of Tampa Bay Lightning confronted the goal. The NHL, after a long review, ruled that Avalanche defenseman Bowen Byram had pulled the puck slightly out of the zone and the play was offside.
“It was long,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said that the Tampa Bay Lightning got to make the challenge. “Probably three times the length we normally get.”
Though Gabriel Landeskog put the Avalanche ahead 1-0 for real, Anthony Cirelli and Ondrej Palat gave their first lead of the series by scoring for the Lightning.
The Tampa Bay Lightning was sufficiently going right in Game 3:
Due to an injury to Nikita Kucherov the game was spoiled and everything in the game went wrong, the Tampa Bay Lightning was sufficiently going right in Game 3.
♦ Nick Paul, who appeared to be hurt in the first period, returned in the second period and put the Lightning ahead 3-1.
“In true hockey player fashion, he sucks it up and comes out and scores the eventual game winner,” Lightning captain Steven Stamkos told reporters.
♦ Stamkos scored his first points of the series with a goal and assist.
♦ Cirelli (13 games) and Corey Perry (nine games) ended long goal-less droughts.
♦ Perry got the Lightning’s first power-play goal of the series.
♦ Victor Hedman, a Norris Trophy finalist, had two assists and was a plus-3 after being a minus-4 in the first two games.
♦ Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy got back to form with 37 saves, including a big pad save early on J.T. Compher.
Tampa Bay Lightning figured out a way to neutralize Colorado’s speed :
“He kept us in it every step of the way,” Lightning forward Pat Maroon said. “That’s why Vasy’s Vasy. He knows how to rebound. He knows how to come up big for us.”
At Amalie Arena. the Tampa Bay Lightning figured out a way to neutralize Colorado’s speed and will try to tie the series Wednesday at 8 p.m. European time.
In the Eastern Conference final, Tampa Bay Lightning had scored 2-0 before winning four matches in a row against the New York Rangers.
“We knew this was pretty much a must-win game for us,” Stamkos said. “I think we played like it tonight. I think our attention to detail was a lot better.”
On Tuesday, Cooper had an update on Nikita Kucherov. In the third period after being cross-checked by Devon Toews, an Avalanche defenseman Kucherov had left the game after having two assists.
“It’s a contact game, but guys know what they’re doing,” Cooper said about the game. “Smart, savvy players know what they’re doing with their stick. We all saw it.”
Because of the injury, Two important players didn’t dress for Game 3. Andre Burakovsky was sent by Avalanche and Brayden Point was sent by Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Tampa Bay Lightning’s final goal was given by Pavel Francouz:
Bednar dragged goalie Darcy Kuemper after he gave up five goals on 22 shots. The final Lightning goal was given by Pavel Francouz.
“He didn’t have a good night,” Bednar said of Kuemper. “Neither did our team. We win as a team, lose as a team. We group him in with everyone else.”
The Avalanche have used both goalies in the playoffs, mostly because of injuries to Kuemper. Bednar, as expected, didn’t indicate who’d start in Game 4.
The NHL will announce its remaining award winners Tuesday night during an awards show at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. Still left to be announced: Hart Trophy (MVP, writers vote), Ted Lindsay Award (MVP, players vote), Norris Trophy (defenseman), Vezina Trophy (goaltender), and Calder Trophy (rookie).