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Tampa Bay Lightning keep three-peat hopes alive with Game 5 win vs. Colorado Avalanche

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The Tampa Bay Lightning’s three-peat bid stands.

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After heavy defeat in game 4 wherein Too many men on the ice was a missed infractionthe two-time defending champion Lightning won Friday night 3-2 to prevent the Colorado Avalanche from winning the Stanley Cup on home ice.

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Instead, the series will return to the Amalie Arena in Tampa on Sunday (at 8 p.m. ET, ABC), where the Avalanche will continue to lead the series 3-2.

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“You are behind in the series, the Cup is ready, the conditions are great for the home team, and how do you demonstrate the skill of the game? You do what they do,” Lightning coach John Cooper told reporters about his team’s efforts.

Tampa Bay Lightning left winger Ondrej Palat (left) celebrates a goal against the Colorado Avalanche with center Steven Stamkos.
Tampa Bay Lightning left winger Ondrej Palat (left) celebrates a goal against the Colorado Avalanche with center Steven Stamkos.

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The Lightning scored 35 saves from goaltender Andrei Vasilevsky, another clutch from Ondrej Palat, a rare Jan Rutta goal, and a rare powerplay goal to bypass Colorado.

“Today we talked about it, that we had no choice,” Captain Stephen Stamkos said. “For us, it was do or die. Sometimes you catch yourself looking a little ahead, and this band has done a great job of focusing on the present.”

The Avalanche was even called out for having too many people on the ice late in the game, forcing them to defend rather than pursue a tie goal.

The Avalanche beat the Lightning in the first period by a 6-1 aggregate scoreline in the first two games of the series. But on Friday, the Lightning took a 1-0 lead thanks to Rutta’s first playoff goal this year, when goaltender Darcy Kemper scored.

Colorado equalized at 5:07 of the second period, when Vasilevskiy couldn’t handle a floating, deflected shot from Cale Makar and the puck went into the crease of Valery Nichushkin’s serve. It was Nichushkin’s fourth goal in the series and ninth in the playoffs.

Tampa Bay, who were stopped for two power plays in the first period and scored one power play in the first four games, finally connected in a 4-on-3 power play at 8:10 in the second period with a challenge. Makara. to disable.

The Lightning dribbled the puck well, and Stamkos faked a shot and passed to Nikita Kucherov, who scored his eighth goal in the playoffs and the first of the series.

“I didn’t like that call just because there was no intention in it,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said of the Makar penalty. “I don’t think he tested this guy. He just looked at me like he just tripped over his stick.

Makar equalized at 2:31 of the third period with an accidental goal after Vasilevskiy made an original save, but the rebound came on Erik Cernak’s skates.

But Palat gave the win to Tampa Bay at 1:38 p.m., scoring his 11th playoff goal.

He was left alone in the slot and received a pass from defender Victor Hedman, who was down in the Avalanche area.

“I was just trying to open up, get a little lost,” Palat said. “I saw Heddy. He saw me. It was an easy shot for me.”

The Lightning went 3–2 in the first round to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs and beat the New York Rangers in the Conference Finals, losing their first two road games.

“As nice as it is to renew the series, we understand how hard we’ve had to work to get this tonight, and we’ll have to replicate it at home,” Stamkos said.

The Avalanche lost in Game 5 to the St. Louis Blues in the second round with a chance to win at home, but won Game 6 on the road. They are 8-1 away in the playoffs.

“The guys were digging in on the road,” Bednar said. “We saw in the regular season. We’ve seen it really intensify in the playoffs. The guys come hungry and ready to play.”

Palat enters the Conn Smythe Trophy equation

Makar would have been a top contender for the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP had the Avalanche won the championship on Friday night.

But if the Lightning can come back and win the series, Palat will be seriously considered.

Seven of his 11 goals were scored in the third period. Three of them were winners, including two who scored in the last two minutes of normal time.

“He plays some of the best players in the world every year,” Cooper said of the upcoming unrestricted free agent who scored 12 playoff game-winning goals. “He is always the third guy that is talked about in his line, but if you ask the other two players in his line, they will talk about him maybe the most.

“It perfectly complements experienced players, checkers, wherever you need it. He just does his job and gets rewarded for it through his efforts.”

Around the ice rinks

Owner Jeff Winick sent the entire Lightning staff to Denver to cheer on the team. “He is a treasure. This guy is gold,” Cooper said of Vinick. … Injured Lightning forwards Bryden Point and Avalanche forward Andre Burakovsky were out again. … New York Islanders coach Barry Trotz sacked told that this season he will not sit on the bench to spend more time with his family. He ran for a job with the Winnipeg Jets.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Stanley Cup Final: Lightning Survive With Game 5 Win Over Avalanche


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