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3-2

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Avalanche
Colorado

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News & Analysis

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Tampa Bay Lightning at Colorado Avalanche
Recap

Lightning stay alive with late goal to beat Avalanche

June 25, 2022, 3:17 AM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

Ondrej Palat scored a tiebreaking goal late in the third period, Andrei Vasilevskiy made 36 saves, and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final in Denver on Friday night.

Jan Rutta and Nikita Kucherov also scored and Corey Perry and Mikhail Sergachev had two assists each for the Lightning, who kept their hopes alive for a third straight championship.

The Avalanche lead the series 3-2 with Game 6 at Tampa Bay on Sunday night.

Cale Makar and Valeri Nichushkin had a goal and an assist each and Darcy Kuemper turned away 26 shots for Colorado.

The game was tied 2-2 late when Palat took a shot from the slot that went off Kuemper's stick and through his pads at 13:38. It was his 11th goal of the playoffs.

The Lightning didn't take advantage of two early power plays but broke through late in the first period. Rutta took a pass from Perry in the neutral zone, skated into the Avalanche end and blasted a shot from the right circle through Kuemper at 15:23.

It was Rutta's first of the playoffs.

Colorado tied it early in the second period when Vasilevskiy couldn't corral Makar's high shot and it bounced into the crease where Nichushkin tapped it in at 5:07. It was his ninth of the postseason.

Minutes later Makar took a tripping penalty to give Tampa Bay a 4-on-3 power play, and the Lightning cashed in when Kucherov's shot from the high slot went off the right post and in at 8:10 to give Tampa Bay a 2-1 lead. It was his first goal of the series and 10th of the playoffs.

As they did in Game 4, the Avalanche tied the game at 2-all early in the third period. Makar's shot from the right circle was stopped by Vasilevskiy but it deflected off Erik Cernak's skate and through the goaltender's legs at 2:31.

It was Makar's eighth goal of the postseason.

--Field Level Media

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Colorado Avalanche at Tampa Bay Lightning
Betting

Avalanche favored to close out Lightning in Game 5

June 24, 2022, 8:02 PM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

It has been 21 years and 15 days since the Colorado Avalanche won the Stanley Cup. They have three chances to do it again, starting with Friday night at Denver.

Colorado leads the Stanley Cup Final 3-1 after beating the Lightning 3-2 in overtime at Tampa Bay on Wednesday night on what Lightning coach Jon Cooper said was a goal that shouldn't have counted.

Now his team has to climb out of a big hole -- and win two road games -- to capture its third straight title.

The Lightning are a consensus underdog entering Game 5.

Colorado is a 1.5-goal favorite at DraftKings, where it has drawn one-sided action with 80 percent of the spread-line bets while Tampa Bay has garnered more of the spread handle at 58 percent.

The Avalanche opened at -150 at BetMGM but the line had moved to -175 by Friday with Colorado backed by 70 percent of the spread bets and 88 percent of the handle.

Tampa Bay faces a tough task that has been made even harder with injuries. Brayden Point, who didn't play in Game 4, is likely out for Game 5 and Eric Cernak didn't play much Wednesday, leaving Tampa Bay with just five defensemen most of the game.

Cooper did not have an update on injuries as of Thursday afternoon.

The Lightning are not ready to concede the title to the Avalanche despite the two-game hole.

"We haven't lost yet," Tampa Bay forward Pat Maroon said. "It's the first one to four wins right now. We've got a challenge in front of us, but if it's one team that can do it, it's this team."

The Lightning are facing elimination after Colorado had a few fortunate bounces in Game 4. The first Avalanche goal went off Nathan MacKinnon's skate and the tying goal in the third period bounced off Andrew Cogliano's leg.

Then there was the overtime goal, which Cooper thought happened with Colorado having six skaters on the ice. MacKinnon was skating toward the bench when Nazem Kadri jumped on the ice and scored the winner seconds later.

"It's impossible to say what's the right decision there," Tampa Bay forward Ryan McDonagh said. "It's so fast and it probably happens a million times a game more than we think."

The Avalanche are on the brink of a title, in part because of key lineup decisions. Coach Jared Bednar stuck with Darcy Kuemper in net and he came through with 37 saves Wednesday, and he put Kadri in the lineup for the first time since June 4.

He also shuffled the lines somewhat and tinkered with defensive pairings, putting Norris Trophy winner Cale Makar with Erik Johnson and pairing Devon Toews with Bowen Byram.

Byram was the one player who was certain Kadri's shot went in despite confusion on the ice. The puck went under Andrei Vasilevskiy's right arm and lodged in the top of the net, giving Colorado a dramatic win.

"I've been waiting for this my whole life," Kadri said. "I figured it was time to join the party."

The party will be big if the Avalanche can close it out on home ice Friday night. They are 7-2 at home in the playoffs, with both losses coming in the second round against St. Louis.

Colorado knows it can't let up despite the 3-1 series lead. Andre Burakovsky is likely out for Friday, and despite his heroics, Kadri's surgically repaired thumb is not 100 percent.

"They're going to bring their best and we need to do the same thing," Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog said of the Lightning. "It's obviously exciting to get a big win on the road in overtime, but we have a big day of rest (Thursday) and get ready for Friday."

The 6.0-goal Over/Under at BetMGM has seen the Over supported by 94 percent of the bets and 92 percent of the handle. Meanwhile, the most-bet player props have all been placed on MacKinnon: +900 to score the first goal of the game, +115 to score at any time during the game and -135 that he will take more than 4.5 shots.

DraftKings' Over/Under is also at 6.0 total goals, with the Over receiving one-sided action with 80 percent of the bets while also drawing 66 percent of the spread handle.

--Field Level Media

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Colorado Avalanche at Tampa Bay Lightning
Preview

Avalanche out to finish Lightning, claim Stanley Cup

June 23, 2022, 9:31 PM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

It has been 21 years and 15 days since the Colorado Avalanche won the Stanley Cup. They have three chances to do it again, starting with Friday night at Denver.

Colorado leads the Stanley Cup Final 3-1 after beating the Lightning 3-2 in overtime at Tampa Bay on Wednesday night on what Lightning coach Jon Cooper said was a goal that shouldn't have counted.

Now his team has to climb out of a big hole -- and win two road games -- to capture its third straight title.

It is a tough task that has been made even harder with injuries. Brayden Point, who didn't play in Game 4, is likely out for Game 5 and Eric Cernak didn't play much Wednesday, leaving Tampa Bay with just five defensemen most of the game.

Cooper did not have an update on injuries as of Thursday afternoon.

The Lightning are not ready to concede the title to the Avalanche despite the two-game hole.

"We haven't lost yet," Tampa Bay forward Pat Maroon said. "It's the first one to four wins right now. We've got a challenge in front of us, but if it's one team that can do it, it's this team."

The Lightning are facing elimination after Colorado had a few fortunate bounces in Game 4. The first Avalanche goal went off Nathan MacKinnon's skate and the tying goal in the third period bounced off Andrew Cogliano's leg.

Then there was the overtime goal, which Cooper thought happened with Colorado having six skaters on the ice. MacKinnon was skating toward the bench when Nazem Kadri jumped on the ice and scored the winner seconds later.

"It's impossible to say what's the right decision there," Tampa Bay forward Ryan McDonagh said. "It's so fast and it probably happens a million times a game more than we think."

The Avalanche are on the brink of a title, in part because of key lineup decisions. Coach Jared Bednar stuck with Darcy Kuemper in net and he came through with 37 saves Wednesday, and he put Kadri in the lineup for the first time since June 4.

He also shuffled the lines somewhat and tinkered with defensive pairings, putting Norris Trophy winner Cale Makar with Erik Johnson and pairing Devon Toews with Bowen Byram.

Byram was the one player who was certain Kadri's shot went in despite confusion on the ice. The puck went under Andrei Vasilevskiy's right arm and lodged in the top of the net, giving Colorado a dramatic win.

"I've been waiting for this my whole life," Kadri said. "I figured it was time to join the party."

The party will be big if the Avalanche can close it out on home ice Friday night. They are 7-2 at home in the playoffs, with both losses coming in the second round against St. Louis.

Colorado knows it can't let up despite the 3-1 series lead. Andre Burakovsky is likely out for Friday, and despite his heroics, Kadri's surgically repaired thumb is not 100 percent.

"They're going to bring their best and we need to do the same thing," Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog said of the Lightning. "It's obviously exciting to get a big win on the road in overtime, but we have a big day of rest (Thursday) and get ready for Friday."

--Field Level Media

NHL: Stanley Cup Final-Media Day
News

Lightning coach on Nazem Kadri's OT goal: 'I've moved on'

June 23, 2022, 5:48 PM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper had much more to say on Thursday, mere hours after his team dropped a controversial 3-2 decision in overtime to the visiting Colorado Avalanche in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Cooper was not as forthcoming when he held a short news conference on Wednesday night, during which he questioned whether Nazem Kadri's goal at 12:02 of overtime should have been allowed to stand. Replays showed the Avalanche had six skaters on the ice when Kadri gained the puck in the neutral zone seconds before scoring.

Colorado owns a 3-1 edge in the best-of-seven series heading into Game 5 on Friday night in Denver.

Teams that hold a 3-1 lead in the Stanley Cup Final have gone on to win the series 35 of 36 times. The 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs escaped a 3-0 hole in the finals to beat the Detroit Red Wings.

While Cooper excused himself after one question on Wednesday, he was more than willing to talk on Thursday.

"They're reviewing whether the puck's in the net. The only way I can find out is I have to go back in the room and look at the tape," Cooper said. "You do and then you have to face all of you (the media) five minutes after an emotional loss, so I apologize for last night because that's what you get when you have to speak to the media right away.

"What's great about today is that it's not yesterday. Now, we've got some excitement for Game 5 and that's where my mind's turning on how to win that. Nothing we can do to turn back. They missed it. It's unfortunate, but it's water under the bridge now. Should be a hell of a Game 5."

Cooper was asked if the play should have been reviewable.

"That is not for me (to say)," he said. "I explained. It was an emotional time last night, but I've moved on."

--Field Level Media

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Edmonton Oilers at Colorado Avalanche
News

Avalanche F Nazem Kadri returns for Cup Final debut

June 23, 2022, 12:30 AM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

Colorado Avalanche forward Nazem Kadri returned to the lineup for Stanley Cup Final Game 4 against the host Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday.

Kadri missed the first three games of the series as well as his team's final Western Conference finals clash due to a thumb injury that required surgery. He got hurt when he was hit from behind against the Edmonton Oilers in Game 3 of the series that ended in a four-game Colorado sweep.

Kadri, who plays center on the second line and is a strong checker, went into the Wednesday game having collected six goals and 14 points in 13 playoff games this year.

The Avalanche led the best-of-seven finals 2-1 heading into Wednesday's contest.

The Lightning appear to have avoided an injury issue with leading scorer forward Nikita Kucherov in the lineup after he left with six minutes left in Game 3 on Monday.

--Field Level Media

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Colorado Avalanche at Tampa Bay Lightning
News

Lightning's Nikita Kucherov in, Brayden Point out for Game 4

June 22, 2022, 3:36 PM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

Forward Nikita Kucherov will be in the lineup Wednesday night when the Tampa Bay Lightning host the Colorado Avalanche in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Coach Jon Cooper confirmed Wednesday morning that the Lightning will use the same lineup as in Game 3.

Brayden Point, who did not play in Tampa Bay's 6-2 win in Game 3 on Monday, will sit out Game 4 as well.

"I haven't ruled him out for the series, but he's out for tonight," Cooper said of Point.

Forward Nick Paul will remain in the lineup for the Lightning, who trail 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.

Kucherov, 29, exited Monday's game with 6:05 remaining in the third period after falling awkwardly following a penalized crosscheck from Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews.

Kucherov was headed toward the boards when Toews hit him, and his left leg buckled. The former Hart Trophy recipient attempted to take part in the ensuing five-on-three power play but left the ice in discomfort.

He collected two assists in the game, giving him 25 points in each of the Lightning's three consecutive Stanley Cup years. He is the fourth player in league history with three straight 25-point postseasons, joining Bryan Trottier (1980-82), Mike Bossy (1981-83) and Wayne Gretzky (1983-85).

Point sustained a lower-body injury on May 14 in Game 7 of the first-round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs. He missed the team's next 10 games before returning for the series opener against the Avalanche.

Point, 26, has two goals and three assists in nine playoff games.

--Field Level Media

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Colorado Avalanche at Tampa Bay Lightning
News

Lightning's Nikita Kucherov likely to play in Game 4

June 21, 2022, 5:53 PM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Lightning star Nikita Kucherov is likely to play in Game 4 but fellow forward Brayden Point is expected to miss his second straight game, coach Jon Cooper said Tuesday.

Kucherov exited Monday's 6-2 victory against Colorado in Game 3 after a third-period hit from Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews.

"As I sit right now, I think he can play tomorrow," Cooper said. "But I'm not Kuch. If I know Kuch, he's sitting there saying the same thing. But we'll see what the doctors and everybody says."

Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final is Wednesday night in Tampa. The Avalanche hold a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series against the two-time defending champions.

Kucherov, 29, leads the Lightning with 26 points (seven goals, 19 assists) in 20 games this postseason.

Toews received a minor penalty on the play, which Tampa Bay defenseman Victor Hedman called "dangerous." NHL Player Safety opted not to discipline Toews, ESPN reported.

The Lightning are likely to be without center Brayden Point for a second straight game due to a lower-body injury originally suffered in Game 7 of the first-round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Cooper said Point is "highly doubtful" for Game 4.

--Field Level Media

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Colorado Avalanche at Tampa Bay Lightning
News

Nikita Kucherov leaves Game 3 after penalized cross check

June 21, 2022, 3:26 AM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Lightning star Nikita Kucherov left Monday's Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final with six minutes remaining after falling awkwardly following a penalized cross check from Devon Toews of the Colorado Avalanche.

Kucherov was headed toward the boards when Toews hit him, and his left leg buckled. He attempted to take part in the ensuing five-on-three power play, but left the ice in discomfort.

Kucherov collected two assists in the game, giving him 25 points in each of the Lightning's three consecutive Stanley Cup years. He is the fourth player in league history with three straight 25-point postseasons.

The Lightning won Game 3 6-2 to cut Colorado's series advantage to 2-1, with Game 4 scheduled for Wednesday.

--Field Level Media

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Tampa Bay Lightning at Colorado Avalanche
News

Lightning's Brayden Point game-time decision for Game 3

June 20, 2022, 4:11 PM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point was absent from Monday's morning skate and will be a game-time decision for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final against the visiting Colorado Avalanche, coach Jon Cooper announced.

Cooper noted that star goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy will start Monday night's game despite missing the morning skate for rest purposes.

Point has one assist in two games in this series for the Lightning, who trail 2-0 in the best-of-seven series.

The 26-year-old had just returned to action after missing 10 games with a lower-body injury sustained in Game 7 of Tampa Bay's first-round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Point recorded 58 points (28 goals, 30 assists) in 66 games during the regular season. In nine playoff games, he had two goals and three assists.

--Field Level Media

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Tampa Bay Lightning at Colorado Avalanche
News

Andre Burakovsky will not travel with Avalanche to Tampa

June 19, 2022, 5:28 PM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

Colorado Avalanche forward Andre Burakovsky will not travel with the team to Tampa on Sunday after sustaining an apparent hand injury in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Coach Jared Bednar told reporters Burakovsky is still being evaluated and would rejoin his teammates in Tampa on Monday. His availability for Game 3 against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday remains unknown.

The Avalanche hold a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Burakovsky scored in overtime to give Colorado a 4-3 win in the series opener on Wednesday. The 27-year-old Austrian collected a goal and an assist in the Avalanche's 7-0 romp on Saturday before taking a shot off his hand from Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman in the second period.

Burakovsky has recorded eight points (three goals, five assists) in 12 games during the postseason. He registered a career-high 61 points (22 goals, 39 assists) in 80 games in the regular season.

--Field Level Media

NHL: Stanley Cup Final-Media Day
News

Lightning coach: Brayden Point 'looks like he’s a go' for Game 1

June 15, 2022, 5:29 PM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brayden Point appears poised to make his return to the lineup in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday in Denver.

"Pointer looks like he's a go," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said Wednesday after the team's morning skate.

Point has missed 10 games since sustaining a lower-body injury in Game 7 of the team's first-round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs. He has practiced with fellow forwards Nicholas Paul and Ross Colton over the past two days.

Point, 26, recorded 58 points (28 goals, 30 assists) in 66 games during the regular season. In seven playoff games, he had two goals and two assists.

No player has scored more goals (30) over the past three NHL postseasons than Point, who last played May 14.

--Field Level Media

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Edmonton Oilers at Colorado Avalanche
News

Avalanche decline to name starting goaltender ahead of Game 1

June 15, 2022, 5:07 PM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

Colorado Avalanche coach Jared Bednar declined to name his starting goaltender ahead of Wednesday's Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final against the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning.

Darcy Kuemper, however, was in the starter's net during the morning skate Wednesday in Denver. Pavel Francouz relieved an injured Kuemper (upper body) to help the Avalanche sweep the Edmonton Oilers in the Western Conference finals.

"Our guys are comfortable with our goaltending here as well," Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic said Tuesday. "Both goalies can play. Darcy is 100 percent healthy now. He had a tough time with health for the one round, but he's ready to go.

"We're definitely confident in both goalies. They both won six games in the playoffs. Our guys are excited."

Kuemper, 35, is 6-2 with a 2.65 goals-against average and an .897 save percentage in 10 games in the playoffs.

Francouz, 32, is 6-0 with a 2.86 GAA and .906 save percentage.

Bednar labeled Nazem Kadri (thumb) and Andrew Cogliano (upper body) as "day-to-day" despite missing Wednesday's morning skate. The coach declined to say if either forward would play in the series opener.

--Field Level Media

NHL: Stanley Cup Final-Media Day
News

Colorado's Darcy Kuemper 'ready to go' if needed in Stanley Cup Finals

June 15, 2022, 1:29 AM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

If the Colorado Avalanche need Darcy Kuemper in goal during the Stanley Cup Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning, he'll be prepared.

"I'm ready to go," Kuemper told reporters Tuesday. "For me, it's just sticking with the same routine, making sure you're sharp in practice and treating it like a game situation, so that when the real game comes, you're ready to go."

The 32-year-old Canadian manned Colorado's goal in 57 games during the regular season and has a 6-2 record in games he started in the postseason. His career goals-against average of 2.48 is third-best among all active goalies in the league.

But Kuemper hasn't played in weeks, last seeing action on May 31, when he suffered an upper-body injury in Game 1 of Colorado's series with the Edmonton Oilers.

Since then, his backup Pavel Francouz has stepped in and performed admirably. He's been featured in six playoff games so far, all wins for the Avalanche, and holds a 2.86 goals-against average. Francouz previously stepped in for Kuemper when he suffered an eye injury in the first round.

Kuemper said Tuesday that he is 100 percent healthy now, but it's unclear who will start between the pipes for the Avs on Wednesday night in Denver.

"Our guys are comfortable with our goaltending. Both guys can play," Colorado general manager Joe Sakic said. "Our team has been committed defensively all season and we're definitely confident in both goalies. They've both won six games in the playoffs. Our guys are excited."

--Field Level Media

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Colorado Avalanche at Edmonton Oilers
Betting

Avalanche heavily favored over Lightning in Stanley Cup Final

June 14, 2022, 12:15 AM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Lightning are four wins away from three-peating as Stanley Cup champions, but they face a tall task against the best team in the Western Conference.

The Colorado Avalanche are favored at -195 at BetRivers and -190 at BetMGM to defeat the Lightning and win their first Stanley Cup since 2001.

The puck drops on the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday when Game 1 is played in Denver.

By comparison, the Lightning are +155 underdogs at BetMGM and +165 at BetRivers. DraftKings Sportsbook had it a bit closer, with the Avalanche at -175 and the Lightning at +150 as of Monday.

That hasn't stopped the betting public from riding Colorado. BetRivers said Monday evening that 66 percent of the handle and 68 percent of the bets had been placed on the Avs.

Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon was the favorite at +450 to score the most goals of any individual player in the series. Teammate Mikko Rantanen was listed second at +550 before the Lightning's Nikita Kucherov at +700 and Steven Stamkos at +750.

Of the players remaining in the playoffs, Kucherov has scored the most goals with 23. The Avalanche have been led by defenseman Cale Makar's 22 points; Makar is a bit down the board at DraftKings at +2500.

--Field Level Media

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at Winnipeg Jets
News

Avalanche sign F Lukas Sedlak to 1-year contract

June 13, 2022, 5:41 PM

Photo Credit - USA TODAY Sports

The Western Conference champion Colorado Avalanche signed forward Lukas Sedlak to a one-year contract for the 2022-23 season on Monday.

Sedlak, 29, has spent the past three seasons in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League.

He had 43 points (18 goals, 25 assists) in 49 games with Traktor Chelyabinsk in the 2021-22 regular season, and added three goals and three assists in 10 KHL playoff games.

A sixth-round pick by Columbus in 2011, Sedlak posted 27 points (15 goals, 12 assists) in 162 games in three seasons with the Blue Jackets from 2016-19.

--Field Level Media