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Lightning Take Major Step with 6-2 Win

Would the Tampa Bay Lightning be able to take a major step in the Stanley Cup Final? It wasn’t a must win though it was as close to one the Lightning have faced. Down two games to none to Colorado, Tampa did not want to get in a three game hole. Making things tougher, Brayden Point was a scratch for tonight’s game. A win would at least give them (and us) more hope. A major step would be taken by the Lightning in this series with a win tonight.  

Coming off the 7-0 loss in Game 2 in Colorado, the Lightning looked like a team in disarray. Going from an overtime loss in Game 1 to the Game 2 debacle, the Lightning looked as bad as we have seen them in the playoffs in a long time. Would the two time reigning Stanley Cup Champs man up and put forth the kind of effort we have been accustomed to seeing?

First of All would the Lightning be able to take a Major Step?

Early in the first, the Lightning had their best scoring chance since Game 1. Alex Killorn on the forecheck feeds a pass in the low slot. Brandon Hagel snapped a shot on goal that Colorado goalie Darcy Kuemper saved. Kuemper didn’t control the rebound and Nick Paul had a point blank shot that Kuemper saved. Despite that fortuitous start, the Avalanche seemed to score first. Val Nichuskin floated a knuckle puck past Andrei Vasilevskiy. Jon Cooper challenged the goal and replays show the Avs were offside. 

After a couple of penalties found Colorado with a limited power play. Gabriel Landeskog stuffed the puck past Vasilevskiy for the game’s first goal. After a putrid power play, Anthony Cirelli led an offensive charge into the Avalanche zone. Cirelli tucked the puck past Kuemper to tie the game at one. 

I Like it Palat

A couple of minutes later the Lightning took their first lead in the series. On a beautiful feed from Steven Stamkos, Ondrej Palat snapped a shot past Kuemper making the score 2-1. Nick Paul appeared to be injured after taking a questionable hit from Josh Manson. Paul had difficulty getting off the ice and walked immediately into the locker room. Would we see him again in the game?

— NHL (@NHL) June 21, 2022

Second that Motion

As the second period started, one looming question is the health of Nick Paul. He answered that question in his first shift. Actually, he gave the best answer he could. Slapping a one timer past Kuemper to give the Lightning a 3-1 lead. 

— NHL (@NHL) June 21, 2022

After a Ross Colton penalty, Colorado’s power play scored their second of the game to close the gap to 3-2. Landeskog blistered a shot over Vasilevskiy’s blocker putting the Avs back in the game. This game seemed intent on becoming a heavyweight bout. Two things were certain at this stage, the Lightning need to stop taking penalties and they need to keep pushing up ice. On an assist from Nikita Kucherov, Stamkos found himself all alone in front of Kuemper. With a flick of his wrists, the puck was behind the Colorado goalie. Lightning now had a 4-2 lead. 

— NHL (@NHL) June 21, 2022

Good Medicine

A few minutes later on a textbook give and go with Kucherov, Pat Maroon lifted a backhand past Kuemper for a 5-2 Lightning lead. This goal chased Kuemper as backup Pavel Francouz took over the net. No sooner did Francouz break a sweat that the Lightning on a power play scored on him 

Victor Hedman blasted a shot from the point which was tipped by Palat. Francouz had trouble and the puck trickled by him but not in until Corey Perry tucked in in the net making it 6-2. That is how the second period ended.

Final Period of this Major Step

Unlike the first two periods, the third started slowly. To their credit, the Avalanche didn’t go through the motions. They were trying their damnedest to get back in this game. There was no apparent quit in the visitors. And why not? We saw them score in bunches in the last game of this series. A quick goal or two and they would have seized the momentum of the game. But Vasilevskiy was having none of that nonsense. 

In the second half of the period, Colorado started to get chippy. They actually gave the Lightning a brief 5 on 3 opportunity. It was for naught. A too many men call negated the power play. When the Avalanche has a power play for a little over a minute, they pulled their goalie. This gave them a 6-4 man advantage. They failed to score but their chippiness continued. 

In the waning minutes, Ross Colton dropped the mitts against Logan O’Connor. They both got in a couple of good licks but fought to a draw. While the fight was a tie, Game 2 was definitely not. As previously stated, the Lightning took a major step on this Stanley Cup Final. 

Stars of The Game

First Star – Steven Stamkos – 1 Goal, 1 Assist and won 74% of his faceoffs.

Second Star – Ondrej Palat – 1 Goal, 1 Assist and his 6 hits led the team.

Third Star – Nikita Kicherov –  2 Assists

What’s Next

Game 4 is Wednesday night at 8pm at Amalie Arena. Lightning looking to tie the series at two games apiece.

 

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