A good effort by Tampa Bay to win their first game of the Stanley Cup Finals in front of the home crowd, the Lightning were 7-0 at home and the Avalanche were 7-0 on the road so something had to give.
Just five minutes into the first period and Colorado once again breaks the ice with the first goal an easy floater over the blocker side for their third straight game scoring first but HC Cooper after waiting as long as he could then called for a Coach’s Challenge.
The challenge itself seemed clear-cut but the officials literally took more time to decide the play was offside than the amount of time already spent playing the game, finally after a long review they determined no goal.
Now six minutes in and Tampa Bay gets its first power play since game three against the Rangers and the Lightning are at 0-6 for power play conversion in the Stanley Cup Finals and after the Avalanche get a shorthanded SOG Tampa Bay gets penalized.
We get four on four for 41 seconds and when Colorado is on the power play they score again and this one counts for the 1-0 lead, 6 SOG 5 halfway through the opening period.
Tampa Bay ties the game at one with a fanned on push/shot that went under Mr. Kuemper and Mr. Cirelli who scored the goal also had the secondary assist but was not credited with the statistic, oddly Tampa Bay’s first three goals have no secondary assists.
When Mr. Palat affords the Lightning their first lead of the Stanley Cup Finals by scoring his tenth of the playoffs he too had the secondary assist and was not credited with that point.
At this point, the ESPN cheerleader announcer for Tampa Bay said no less than three times how the Colorado Avalanche looked, “confused”, probably because of the uncharacteristic giveaways resulting in scores for Tampa Bay.
It takes Tampa Bay less than 90 seconds to score their third goal to begin the second period, a few minutes later relentless Avalanche pressure results in a Colorado power play which highlights another “up over the blocker” goal on Mr. Vasilevskiy for the 3-2 score.
Eight minutes into the second period and Mr. Stamkos records his first point of the Stanley Cup Finals by scoring his tenth and Mr. Maroon scores which prompts Colorado to switch goalies and Mr. (Frankie) Francouz takes over for the Avalanche.
A delay of game penalty for shooting the puck into the fans gives Tampa Bay’s Mr. Perry a chance at some loose change which he takes advantage of for the Lightning’s sixth goal and four-goal lead.
In the third period, Tampa Bay takes six shots and Mr. Vasilevskiy plays to his abilities and stops all 12 Colorado shots, of course with little time remaining in a game already won Tampa Bay goes in goon mode as the only highlights from the third period are fighting.
Tampa Bay and Colorado resume tonight at eight o’clock this evening, so the questions are will Tampa Bay win game four, will Mr. Francouz start over Mr. Kuemper, and which Mr. Vasilevskiy will show up?