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Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
The NHL season is not over yet.
The Tampa Bay Lightning battled the elimination with a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche in Game Five of the Stanley Cup Final at Pool Arena in Denver on Friday.
An impressive victory by the two-time Cup champions brought the series back to Tampa’s Amalie Arena in Game Six on Sunday, as Avalanche led the series 3-2.
If Colorado wins, it will be the organization’s first cup since 2001. If Tampa Bay wins, it will force the crucial seventh game to return in Denver on Tuesday.
The B/R hockey team was involved in all the action and put together a takeaway menu from Friday’s game. Scroll to see what we came up with and leave one or two ideas of your own in the comments section.
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Ondrej Palat was a seventh-round draft pick in 2011.
In fact, no less than 207 players were selected before the Lightning made its name.
But not many of them had the effect it had, especially when it mattered most.
The game-winning goal of the 31-year-old winger on Friday night was the eleventh of his playoff career with Tampa and created what would be a particularly compelling swan song in his time with the two-time champions.
Palat will be an unrestricted free agent on July 13, and Lightning is already against salary cap For 2022-23Which means this could be his last run with the team.
The winner came in the fifth game with 6:22 remaining in the third game and broke the tie 2-2 when Balat pierced a pass from Victor Hedman through Colorado goalkeeper Darcy Comber.
It was his eleventh goal in the playoffs and his 48th goal in 137 post-season games.
“I thought we played a good game,” he told ESPN’s Emily Kaplan after the win. “It was a great road match.” “It was a great play. [Hedman] You found me, I had an open net and I was lucky enough to get into it.”
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Associated Press/David Zalobovsky
There’s a reason Lightning won the Stanley Cup.
The two-time champions showed their bravery, heart and determination throughout Game Five, just as they have done throughout this year’s career in particular.
Tampa Bay has never faced anything beyond a 1-0 deficit while winning eight straight streaks in the 2019-20 and 2020-21 playoffs, playing only one game – Game 7 against the New York Islanders in last year’s Eastern Conference Final – going 32-14 overall .
Lightning has been less dominant this year, however, losing 3-2 to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round before winning twice in a row and falling behind the New York Rangers 0-2 in the conference final before posting four straight wins.
If they continue to win the Cup, it will be the most elimination game won by a champion since 2013-14 The Los Angeles Kings have won six games, including a rally from a 0-3 loss against the San Jose Sharks in the first round.
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Despite a 3-1 series deficit, Lightning reached Game 5 after outpacing Colorado 10-9 equal strength over four matches.
Where the biggest problems came in the special teams.
Avalanche outperformed Tampa Bay 6-1 in strength positions, but things weren’t one-sided on Friday.
Lightning scored one power-playing in four chances and just as importantly kept Colorado off the scoring record during his two chances with a man advantage.
Nikita Kucherov scored assists from Stephen Stamkos and Corey Perry during a tough four-for-three play in Tampa Bay at 8:10 in the second half, and Lightning killed a heavy penalty called by Ross Colton eight minutes later after also killing. A call goes off against Stamkos in the first period.
Kucherov’s goal was his eighth in the playoffs and sixth in the power game but also his first since the Eastern Conference final against Rangers.
Avalanche remains 6 out of 15 (40 percent) on the series’ power game, while Tampa Bay improves to 2 from 18 (11.1 percent).
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AP Photo / Jack Dempsey
As a whole, Kuemper played well in this series.
He made 116 saves on 129 shots in five games, scored a close in Game 2 and was particularly consistent against a 17-shot barrage during the first period of a Game 4 victory that gave Avalanche a solid 3-1 lead. .
And he looked sharp early Friday, especially with his gloved hand.
But there were moments when things didn’t look right.
Two of Tampa Bay’s three goals in Game Five came from shots that Comber had but couldn’t stop. Lightning defender Yan Ruta hit him with a slap shot from the right boards that swept into the first half, and the bale winner hit him in the third before slipping across his pads across the goal line.
b/r open ice @BR_OpenIce
The screws get to the board first 👀🚨 pic.twitter.com/yz6lltksmX
“He was just fine,” coach Jared Bednar He said after the game. “I’d like to see him get first. Otherwise, I would have thought he fought so hard.”
That came four days after he was withdrawn in Game Three after allowing five goals on 22 shots in Tampa Bay’s 6-2 win. Now that Lightning has brought the series back to Tampa Bay for Game 6, the pressure on the 32-year-old will only increase.
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Associated Press/David Zalobovsky
It’s possible that any level of confidence Tampa Bay fans maintain before Game Five revolves around one player: goalkeeper Andrei Vasilevsky.
And now that we’re heading into Game 6, that’s unlikely to change.
The 27-year-old picked his 63rd win in the playoff at the start of his 98th career with a 35 save save that once again cemented his status as the best goalkeeper in the league.
He established the basis for that claim across Lightning’s first two rounds in the Cup, including closing in five consecutive series-ending matches. But he added layers as the team went a long way to reach this year’s final, including rallies from 3-2 against Toronto and 2-0 against the New York Rangers.
Vasilevsky only allowed five goals in the last four games against Rangers and four in the last two against the Maple Leafs.
And he’s been excellent again since the embarrassing 7-0 Game 2 loss against Colorado, stopping 106 of 113 shots (0.938 savings) in the subsequent three games.
In fact, in the four knockout games since 2020, he’s been 4-0 with 1.75 goals-to-average and 0.945 saves.
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