The Tampa Bay Lightning are back in the Stanley Cup Final after defeating the Colorado Avalanche in Game 3. Here are three lessons we took away from the game.
After two heartbreaking losses to the Colorado Avalanche, the Tampa Bay Lightning came home for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final. The Lightning needed to win to avoid a 3-0 hole after losing 4-3 in overtime in Game 1 and being blown out 7-0 the next game.
Tampa Bay accomplished just that, dominating the Avalanche to trim the series deficit to 2-1. Not only that, but it’s Colorado’s first playoff loss on the road.
Three things we discovered from Game 3 are listed below.
3. In the first period, Tampa’s video challenge loomed large
In the previous two games of the final, the Avalanche had scored the first goal. Then, Valeri Nichushkin put the puck past goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy to give Colorado a 1-0 lead early in the first period, and it seemed like it was going to be three in a row.
The Lightning bench, though, drew the linesman’s attention shortly before puck drop and challenged the goal.
Colorado defenseman Bowen Byram, who set up the goal, was ruled offsides by Tampa Bay. The playback of the video showed that Byram could not keep the puck in the offensive zone.
The goal was disallowed by replay officials in Toronto, who concurred with the sentiment. Colorado’s momentum seemed to be taken away from them after that, despite the fact that they scored a goal immediately after.
2. The Avalanche are concerned about their goaltending
Darcy Kuemper, the Avalanche’s goaltender, was outstanding in the first two games of the final. Colorado appeared to be in good condition for the rest of the final after holding their own in Game 1 and stopping all 16 shots faced in Game 2.
However, after allowing his fifth goal of the game in Game 3, Kuemper was yanked midway through the second period. He only stopped 17 of the 22 shots he faced, prompting head coach Jared Bednar to replace him with Pavel Francouz for the remainder of the game.
When it comes to the starting goaltender for Game 4, the Avalanche will have to make a decision. Do they intend to return to Kuemper? Or will Francouz be given a chance to start the game? As we get closer to Wednesday, that will be something to keep an eye on.
1. Never rule out the possibility of a lightning strike
The Lightning have won the Stanley Cup two years in a row for a reason. They are well-aware of what it takes to win it all. This show demonstrated how tough they are.
The Tampa Bay Lightning overcame a 3-2 deficit to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round to win the series in seven games. Then they dropped the opening two games of the Eastern Conference Finals on the road to the New York Rangers. The momentum changed in Tampa Bay’s favor as they came home for Game 3 of that series.
In this series, it feels like we’re going through deja vu.
After Anthony Cirelli tied the game at 1-1 in the first period, Ondrej Palat and Nick Paul scored two consecutive goals to put the Lightning in command. Colorado’s deficit was trimmed to 3-2 when Gabriel Landeskog scored his second goal of the game.
Kuemper was forced to leave the game after goals by Steven Stamkos and Pat Maroon. Late in the second period, Corey Perry scored to make the score 6-2.
The Lightning are attempting to become the first club to win three Stanley Cups in a row. Let’s see whether they can maintain their winning streak in Game 4.