With little over six minutes remaining, Ondrej Palat scored to send the Lightning to a 3-2 victory against the Avalanche in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup final Friday at Ball Arena in Denver. Tampa Bay denied Colorado a chance to win the Stanley Cup and cut their series deficit to three games to two headed into Game 6 on Sunday in Tampa.
The Lightning’s Jan Rutta and Nikita Kucherov both scored, keeping their dreams of a third straight NHL title alive for at least another game. With 4:37 remaining in the first quarter, Rutta scored on a long-range shot. Colorado tied it just over five minutes into the second period when Valeri Nichushkin scored on a rebound of a Cale Makar shot.Just over eight minutes into the second period, Kucherov pushed the Lightning back up with a 4-on-3 power-play goal. The Avalanche tied the game again two and a half minutes into the third period when a Makar shot that Vasilevskiy blocked deflected off Erik Cernak’s skate and past the goaltender’s legs. Vasilevskiy made 36 saves out of 38 attempts. Darcy Kuemper of Colorado made 26 saves on 29 shots.
Cernak returned to the game after absorbing a Nathan MacKinnon shot off his left leg in Game 4 on Wednesday. Anthony Cirelli (arm) was also in the lineup. Brayden Point (lower body) was a healthy scratch for the 13th time in the last 15 games. Avalanche forward Andre Burakovsky, who scored the game-winning goal in overtime in Game 1 before missing the next two games due to a hand injury sustained in Game 2, was also scratched.Late in the game, the Avalanche were penalized for too many men on the ice, forcing them to defend rather than press for the tying goal.
Previous Results of the Game
In the previous two games of the series, the Avalanche had outscored the Lightning 6-1 in the opening period. However, the Lightning took a 1-0 lead on Friday due to Rutta’s first goal of the playoffs on a slap shot that beat goalkeeper Darcy Kuemper.
At 5:07 of the second period, Vasilevskiy was unable to handle Cale Makar’s floating, deflected shot, and the ball dropped in the crease for a tap-in by Valeri Nichushkin. Nichushkin’s goal was his fourth of the series and his ninth of the playoffs.
Tampa Bay, which had two first-period power plays killed and only one power-play goal in the previous four games, eventually hit on a 4-on-3 power play at 8:10 of the second period, with Makar penalized for tripping.
Stamkos faked a shot and passed back to Nikita Kucherov, who scored his ninth playoff goal and first of the series.
Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said that he didn’t enjoy the decision because there was no purpose.He further said that he didn’t believe he was checking on that man. He merely glanced at him as though he’d stumbled over his stick. It’s a difficult one.
At 2:31 of the third period, Makar tied the game with a fluky goal after Vasilevskiy made the first stop, but the rebound went in off Erik Cernak’s skate.
The Avalanche dropped Game 5 at home to the St. Louis Blues in the second round, but they won Game 6 on the road. In the playoffs, they’re 8-1 on the road.
Bednar explained that Guys have dug in the road.They saw this in the regular season. They’ve witnessed a significant improvement in the playoffs. The guys arrive famished and eager to play.