Stanley Cup Final: Avalanche Take Thrilling Game One In OT
The Colorado Avalanche and the Tampa Bay Lightning dropped the puck on the 2022 Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday night and it couldn't have been a better start for the league's featured event.
Andre Burakovsky scored the overtime winner in a thrilling 4-3 win for Colorado. The 'Avs lead the best-of-seven series 1-0 - three wins away. The big guy has a knack for sticking a dagger in Tampa. In 2018 he scored two goals for the Washington Capitals in Game 7 of the ECF vs. the Lightning.
Gabriel Landeskog (1G, 1A), Valeri Nichushkin and Artturi Lehkonen each scored in regulation for the Avalanche. Darcy Kuemper made his first start in nearly two weeks and stopped 20 of 23 shots in the win.
Ball Arena was rocking a rolling from puck drop and it was evident the 'Avs were feeding off of the energy in the building.
Colorado led 3-1 after one period thanks in part to a nice 5-on-3 man advantage. The 'Avs finished the game 1-for-3 on the power play and killed all three power plays against.
Tampa answered with two goals 48 seconds apart in the second period to even up the game.
Neither goalie was especially sharp in the game. Andrei Vasilevskiy had a particularly slow start despite making 34 saves on 38 shots in the game. To his credit, Vasy got better as the game rolled on or the game would have never gone to overtime.
Hame one had a tremendous pace from the start. Colorado played fast and had their skating legs going. It was even more impressive because of the long layoff between series. They seemed to move and zip the puck around so effortlessly even against a team of Tampa's caliber. I was really impressed.
But, the Lightning will never go quietly.
Tampa came on in waves and showed why they are the champs. So much resiliency within that group. It was one game but it was lightyears better than any of the Western Finals games.
Overall, the game was a big win for the 'Avs and the NHL. It capped off what started out as a great day for the league as a whole. Before the game, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the league had a record year financially and will earn more than $5.2 billion in revenues when all is said and done.
Not only is the on-ice play better than ever but so is the money it's raking in. A strong sign for the league is the post-pandemic world.
Game two is Saturday. Puck drops at 6 p.m. MT.
Thanks for reading,