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Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Colorado Avalanche Pick & Prediction JUN 24TH 2022

NHL | HOCKEY
TV: ABC | Sportsnet | TVAS | CBC
Logo Tampa Bay Lightning
VS
Logo Colorado Avalanche
6
OPENNER
-1.5

6o -110
CURRENT
-1.5 +135

+425
MONEYLINE
+325

3
SCORE
2

It has been 21 years and 15 days since the Colorado Avalanche won the Stanley Cup. They have three chances to do it again, starting with Friday night at Denver.

Colorado leads the Stanley Cup Final 3-1 after beating the Lightning 3-2 in overtime at Tampa Bay on Wednesday night on what Lightning coach Jon Cooper said was a goal that shouldn't have counted.

Now his team has to climb out of a big hole -- and win two road games -- to capture its third straight title.

It is a tough task that has been made even harder with injuries. Brayden Point, who didn't play in Game 4, is likely out for Game 5 and Eric Cernak didn't play much Wednesday, leaving Tampa Bay with just five defensemen most of the game.

 

Cooper did not have an update on injuries as of Thursday afternoon.

The Lightning are not ready to concede the title to the Avalanche despite the two-game hole.

"We haven't lost yet," Tampa Bay forward Pat Maroon said. "It's the first one to four wins right now. We've got a challenge in front of us, but if it's one team that can do it, it's this team."

The Lightning are facing elimination after Colorado had a few fortunate bounces in Game 4. The first Avalanche goal went off Nathan MacKinnon's skate and the tying goal in the third period bounced off Andrew Cogliano's leg.

Then there was the overtime goal, which Cooper thought happened with Colorado having six skaters on the ice. MacKinnon was skating toward the bench when Nazem Kadri jumped on the ice and scored the winner seconds later.

"It's impossible to say what's the right decision there," Tampa Bay forward Ryan McDonagh said. "It's so fast and it probably happens a million times a game more than we think."

The Avalanche are on the brink of a title, in part because of key lineup decisions. Coach Jared Bednar stuck with Darcy Kuemper in net and he came through with 37 saves Wednesday, and he put Kadri in the lineup for the first time since June 4.

He also shuffled the lines somewhat and tinkered with defensive pairings, putting Norris Trophy winner Cale Makar with Erik Johnson and pairing Devon Toews with Bowen Byram.

Byram was the one player who was certain Kadri's shot went in despite confusion on the ice. The puck went under Andrei Vasilevskiy's right arm and lodged in the top of the net, giving Colorado a dramatic win.

"I've been waiting for this my whole life," Kadri said. "I figured it was time to join the party."

The party will be big if the Avalanche can close it out on home ice Friday night. They are 7-2 at home in the playoffs, with both losses coming in the second round against St. Louis.

Colorado knows it can't let up despite the 3-1 series lead. Andre Burakovsky is likely out for Friday, and despite his heroics, Kadri's surgically repaired thumb is not 100 percent.

"They're going to bring their best and we need to do the same thing," Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog said of the Lightning. "It's obviously exciting to get a big win on the road in overtime, but we have a big day of rest (Thursday) and get ready for Friday."

--Field Level Media

PREDICTION
Tampa Bay Lightning
0
1
Colorado Avalanche

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Colorado Avalanche

Nikita Kucherov scored at 3:30 of overtime, and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-3 for their franchise-best 11th straight win in Denver on Monday night.

Alex Killorn and Cameron Gaunce scored goals 16 seconds apart in the second period, Steven Stamkos also had a goal, and Curtis McElhinney made 24 saves for Tampa Bay.

Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and an assist, Andre Burakovsky and Valeri Nichushkin also scored, and Gabriel Landeskog had two assists for Colorado. Mikko Rantanen added an assist before leaving with an apparent shoulder injury in the second period.

Kucherov stole the puck from MacKinnon, raced down the ice and beat Pavel Francouz through the pads to win it with his 29th goal of the season.

Francouz stopped 23 shots for the Avalanche, who were without goaltender Philipp Grubauer, sidelined indefinitely due to a lower-body injury sustained Saturday night. Forward Matt Calvert also has a lower-body injury and is expected to miss a few weeks.

The Avalanche recalled goalie Hunter Miska and forward T.J. Tynan from the Colorado Eagles of the AHL.

Burakovsky put the Avalanche ahead 1-0 at 4:49 of the first period with his 19th tally, but Tampa Bay struck quickly to take the lead in the second. Killorn tied it when he tipped in a pass from Ondrej Palat to the front of the net at 4:45. It was his 23rd of the season.

Just 16 seconds later, Gaunce's blast from the blue line beat Francouz to give the Lightning the lead. The goal was Gaunce's first in his second NHL game of the season, and the third of his 36-game career. He hadn't scored since March 24, 2017, when he was a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Soon after, Rantanen got behind the Lightning defense but was tripped by Erik Cernak and went hard into the boards. He skated off holding his left shoulder and went straight to the locker room.

Stamkos made it 3-1 when he came from behind the net and tapped in Brayden Point's rebound that was sitting in the Colorado crease at 13:43 of the middle period. It was his 27th of the season.

MacKinnon cut the deficit to 3-2 when he beat McElhinney with his 33rd goal at 18:26 of the second. Nichushkin tied it when he deflected in a shot by Cale Makar at 12:43 of the third for his 12th goal.

--Field Level Media

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