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Andrei Vasilevskiy
Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Hockey Daily Dose

Lightning strike back as Avalanche tumble in Game 3

by Michael Finewax
Updated On: June 21, 2022, 12:37 am ET


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Heading into Game 3, there was a surprise to many when Brayden Point was first made a game-time decision early in the day after missing practice, and then a scratch, putting Riley Nash into the Tampa Bay lineup as a member of the fourth line.

There were a couple of Avalanche players who were also unable to go for Game 3. It was no surprise that Nazem Kadri was unable to go as he missed practice yet again, skating after Colorado had finished their practice and then Andre Burakovsky was scratched with an upper-body injury as he missed morning practice and then was not on the ice for the pre-game warmups.

With those injuries, the Lightning were looking to cut the best-of-seven series deficit in half for Game 3.

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TAMPA BAY 6 COLORADO 2 (Colorado leads the best-of-seven Stanley Cup Final 2-1)

Home ice never looked so good to the Lightning as it did on Monday night as they defeated the Colorado Avalanche 6-2 in Game 3 to cut the Avs lead in the best-of-series to 2-1.

Andrei Vasilevskiy was outstanding as he stopped 37-of-39 shots, thwarting the Avalanche time-after-time.

The Avalanche opening the scoring at the five-minute mark but the goal by Valeri Nichushkin was disallowed after a long delay as it was determined that the puck barely went out of the offensive zone before Bowen Byram shot the puck back in.

Colorado then took the lead shortly thereafter when Gabriel Landeskog had a Mikko Rantanen shot go off him and then he shoveled the puck across the goal line to give the Avs the 1-0 lead.

But the Lightning struck back in the first as Anthony Cirelli came in from the side, fanned on his shot but it still went through the legs of Darcy Kuemper and into the cage.

Tampa Bay took a 2-1 lead in the first as Steven Stamkos found Ondrej Palat and his shot eluded Kuemper with 5:06 left in the opening period.

The second period was almost all Tampa Bay.

Nick Paul, who looked to be injured in the opening period as he limped off the ice, barely making it back to the bench, and went into the dressing room. He returned for the start of the second period and on his first shift, took a pass from Ross Colton and whipped a shot from the slot past Kuemper to give Tampa Bay a 3-1 lead.

Landeskog cut the lead to 1 with his second power play goal of the game but Stamkos restored the two-goal lead as he took a great pass from Nikita Kucherov and put it past Kuemper to make it 4-2.

Pat Maroon made it 5-2 when his shot rolled up the blocker of Kuemper, over his shoulder and into the net. The goal chased Kuemper from the Colorado cage as he gave up five goals on 22 shots by the 11:15 mark of the second, to be replaced by Pavel Francouz.

The Lightning extended their lead to four goals when Corey Perry scored on the power play at the 14:58 mark of the second to make it a 6-2 game after two periods.

After scoring eight goals in the first two periods, you would figure there would be plenty more in the third but that was not the case as Colorado outshot Tampa Bay 12-6 but nothing got by Vasilevskiy or for that matter Francouz.

Cale Makar and Mikko Rantanen each assisted on both Landeskog’s goals and both had five shots on net.

Kucherov and Victor Hedman each had two assists. Kucherov left the game late in the third period after seemingly suffering a lower-body injury. The was no update from coach Jon Cooper after the game as to the severity of the injury to Kucherov. Hedman was a plus-four on the night.

There was some rough stuff late in the contest as Logan O'Connor and Ross Colton each picked up five for fighting while Colton picked up a hooking penalty early in the third.

Maroon and Cogliano also rumbled a bit with both getting misconduct penalties. Cogliano had three minors as well, giving him 16 penalty minutes while Maroon had a minor in addition to his misconduct for 12 minutes in the sin bin.

Kucherov and Nathan MacKinnon led their respective teams with six shots on goal.

The Avalanche were 2-4 on the power play while Tampa Bay was 1-6 as they are 1-12 in the series while Colorado is 5-11.

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NIGHTLY LEADERS

Goals

Gabriel Landeskog - 2

Anthony Cirelli – 1

Ondrej Palat – 1

Nick Paul – 1

Steven Stamkos – 1

Pat Maroon – 1

Corey Perry - 1

Assists

Cale Makar – 2

Mikko Rantanen – 2

Nikita Kucherov – 2

Victor Hedman - 2

Shots on Goal

Nikita Kucherov – 6

Nathan MacKinnon – 6

Cale Makar – 5

Mikko Rantanen – 5

J.T. Compher – 5  

Steven Stamkos - 5

Hits

Ondrej Palat - 6

Penalty Minutes

Andrew Cogliano – 16

Pat Maroon – 12

Ross Colton – 7

Logan O'Connor - 5