Lightning bounce back, beat Avalanche 6-2 in Game 3 | Ap-sports

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Steven Stamkos, Pat Maroon and Ondrej Palat each had a goal and an assist, and the Tampa Bay Lightning scored four goals in the second half and beat the Colorado Avalanche 6-2 in Game 3 Monday night Stanley Cup Final.

Anthony Cirelli, Nicholas Paul and Corey Perry also scored to help two-time defending champions Lightning bounce back after playing poorly and losing their opening two games away. Nikita Kucherov and Victor Hedman had two assists and Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 37 shots.

Stamkos, Paul, Maroon and Perry scored in the second half as the Lightning Colorados pursued goaltender Darcy Kuemper while pulling away to cut their streak deficit to 2-1.

Gabriel Landeskog had two goals and Mikko Rantanen had two assists for the Avalanche. Kuemper gave up five goals on 22 shots before being replaced by Pavel Francouz, who finished with nine saves.

Game 4 is Wednesday night at the Amalie Arena, where the Lightning won a franchise-record eight straight playoff games and lost Colorado for the first time this postseason away from home.

Two nights after being limited to just 16 shots in a 7-0 loss in Denver, the Lightning bounced back by finally finding a way to neutralize Colorado’s speed and untie Kuemper to avoid near elimination fall.

The defending champions became the first team since 1919 to win a Stanley Cup Finals game after losing by more than seven goals in the previous game.

The Avalanche lifted Kuemper after Maroon scored a soft goal that gave the Blitz a 5-2 lead, with 8:45 remaining in the second. Perry reached behind Francouz for a rebound that came off the right post to make it 6-2 with 5:02 left in the period.

The two-time champions overcame a 2-0 deficit in the Eastern Conference Finals to eliminate the New York Rangers in six games. They want to do it again against Colorado to complete their quest for the NHL’s first three-peat in nearly 40 years.

Cirelli and Palat scored in the opening stages for the Lightning, who played with a lot more energy than in Games 1 and 2 when they seemed a step or two slower than the fast-scoring Avalanche.

The seven-goal loss in Game 2 raised questions about whether a team that has played 68 postseason games since 2020 – the most by a single club over a three-playoff span – is running out of gas trying to do that becoming the first franchise to win at least three straight Stanley Cup titles since the New York Islanders won four straight from 1980-83.

And while coach Jon Cooper doesn’t take into account the toll so much playoff hockey has taken on its players, Colorado clearly looked like the fresher team in Games 1 and 2 after beating Nashville, St. Louis and Edmonton had won 12-2 three rounds.

Spurred on by a sell-out crowd of more than 19,000 and a sense of urgency largely lacking in the first two games, the Lightning scored twice in a 1:51 span to erase a 1-0 Avalanche lead in the first of two power play goals by Landeskog.

Cirelli crossed in front of Kuemper to make it 1-1 at 13:03 of the opening phase. Palat scored his 10th goal of the playoffs after a pass from Stamkos to put Tampa Bay ahead for the first time in the series.

Andrei Vasilevskiy scored a second power play goal against Landeskog, who briefly reduced a two-goal deficit to 3-2 before Tampa Bay pulled away for good.

Vasilevskiy then stopped 37 of 39 shots

After conceding the most goals he ever gave up in the playoffs in Game 2, Vasilevskiy had 13 saves in the first period, 12 in the second, and 12 in the third.

The Lightning became the third team in NHL history to score six goals in a Stanley Cup Finals after scoring at least seven goals in the previous game.

INJURIES

Both teams played without one of their top strikers.

Lightning center Brayden Point, who missed 10 games after injuring himself in Tampa Bay’s first-round win over Toronto, was scratched after Games 1 and 2 in Denver.

Avalanche forward Andre Burakovsky and Nazem Kadri played for Colorado. Trainer Jared Bednar said both are day by day.

Paul scored for the Lightning after sitting out part of the first period with an apparent right leg injury.

STRIPES

Colorado entered Monday night on a franchise-record seven-game postseason winning streak. The Avalanche also suffered their first road loss, falling to 8-1. Tampa Bay improved to 8-1 at home this postseason.


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