DENVER ( Associated Press) – Keep Champagne cold. It’s back in the muddy snow of Amalie Arena for the Colorado Avalanche after failing to shut down the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Lightning defeated Colorado with tough physicality, closing neutral territory and once again firebolts goaltender Andrei Vasilevsky to counter Colorado’s superior momentum in a 3-2 win in Game 5 on Friday night at Ball Arena. Rely on reflexes.
Coach John Cooper eventually found a way for the Lightning to bottle up Colorado captains Gabriel Landeskog and Miko Rantenen, to send the series back to Tampa with a chance to tie it in Game 6 on Sunday night.
Ondrej Palt sent the puck through Darcy Kumper’s legs with 6:22 to break the 2-2 tie in the third period and Colorado were whistled with 2:38 remaining for too many men on the ice as they Been trying for equalizer.
Cooper complained 48 hours earlier that Colorado’s game-winner in overtime came with too many men on the ice, but the AVs didn’t get away with it this time.
Whistles and breaks didn’t go Colorado’s way in Game 5. Nor did Coles as Lightning knocked the avalanche around, with or without the puck on his sticks.
Tampa Bay went with four forwards when Avalanche star Kale Capricorn was whistled for tripping in the second period during a 4-on-4 skate. Nikita Kucherov capitalized on moments by Lightning in the final by scoring just the second goal in 17 power play opportunities.
Makar atonemented in the third period with a goal that tied it on 2.
The Lightning are now in a position to make their series debut this weekend in Florida, where avalanche center Nazim Qadri complained about bad snow before scoring the game-winner in Game 4.
Makar said after that thriller that Avalanche was still not breathing, insisting on a fourth win over back-to-back champs would prove to be the hardest.
Playing in their 67th playoff game since the first round of the 2020 playoffs, the Lightning kept their hopes alive of becoming the first team in the salary cap era to win three Stanley Cups in a row.
To do so, they would also have to become the first team since the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs to return from a 3–1 deficit to win the Cup.
One down, two to go.
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