Even in a game four of a Finals sweep there is something different about a game when the Stanley Cup is on-site and last night was no exception as both teams combined to play one of the more exciting Stanley Cup Finals in recent seasons.
The first period begins with a Tampa Bay icing the puck then earning a power play in only 23 seconds but the Avalanche kill off their first penalty as Tampa Bay finishes the power play with no shots on goal.
It takes less than four minutes for the Lightning to strike first capitalizing on a fortunate bounce in the slot for a 5-hole shot that gives Tampa Bay the 1-0 lead on another goal with no secondary assist.
The first period was a fast-paced, up-and-down skating, with no whistles for seven and a half consecutive minutes, but few shots, with Colorado banging one off the post, and some physical nonsense at the end of the period for one of the more entertaining first periods of playoff Hockey.
The second period starts quickly also as “The Mac Attack is Back” for the Burgundy and Blue with Mr. MacKinnon’s second of the Finals on his fourth shot which went off of Mr. Vasilevskiy’s blocker to tie the game and Mr. Kane for the playoffs goals (13) lead.
Once again HC Cooper displays his disappointment as Mr. Stamkos and the coach believes the delayed penalty should have been whistled dead before the goal was scored.
As replay highlights Mr. Paul did not touch the puck after the official’s arm went up, he did not have possession or make a pass but as Mr. Paul last touched the puck before the arm went up was so close as to be simultaneous to the naked eye.
At approximately 13 minutes to play in the second period an ESPN “reporter” asked HC Cooper on air if he thought the goal should have counted…the coach laughed at her.
At the 11:52 mark, the ESPN announcers declare Mr. Stamkos and Mr. Byram as “a mess behind the net” as more penalties are not called.
Then an odd-man 3-on-2 rush develops less than eight minutes in the period and another fortunate bounce/pass turns into a deflection affording Mr. Lehkonen an opportunity which he buries for the 2-1 lead.
Immediately after the score and during the celebration Tampa Bay’s Mr. Magoon breaks his stick on Colorado’s Mr. Manson’s leg with a full “Paul Bunyan” two-handed chop, fortunately, Mr. Manson saw it coming and lifted his leg for some protection.
This we are informed by ESPN announcer Mr. Ferraro is a penalty in November but not now, after this we see Tampa Bay begin to take physical liberties highlighted by their boarding penalty during the remaining five minutes of the second period.
The third period begins to unravel for Tampa Bay as they cannot get their first shot on net until past the halfway point of the period and their second shot comes with only six and half minutes left to play.
The Colorado Avalanche seemed faster and fresher as the Lightning pull Mr. Vasilevskiy with 2:03 remaining, 1:15 icing was called on Colorado, then :26 seconds left and no icing was called…time runs out and the Avalanche have their third Stanley Cup Championship.