DENVER — The Tampa Bay Lightning suffered an early setback in the Stanley Cup Final as they lost 4-3 in overtime against the Colorado Avalanche in Game 1 on Wednesday night at Ball Arena.
The Bolts now trail in the series 1-0.
Tampa Bay was down by two goals twice in the game and fought back to level the score in hope of searching for a Game 1 win. However, with less than five minutes played in overtime, Andre Burakovsky scored for Colorado to ensure his team an lead in the series.
In the first period, Lightning forward Nick Paul scored to cut an early two-goal deficit in half. The Avalanche then regained their two-goal advantage late in the third period with a goal from Artturi Lehkonen.
However, Ondrej Palat and Mikhail Sergachev scored a goal each for the Bolts to put both teams on level terms, 3-3.
The Lightning have now lost three of their last four opening series games in this year's postseason but still managed to advance in each occasion.
Despite the early defeat, the Bolts still remain on the hunt for winning a third straight Stanely Cup, and doing so would make them only the fourth team to reach that accomplishment along with the Toronto Maple Leafs (1947-49), the Montreal Canadiens (1956-60, 1976-79) and the New York Islanders (1982-1982).
Puck drop for Game 2 is scheduled for 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 18, at Ball Arena.
10 Tampa Bay will keep you up to date with the latest score during the game.
Lightning 3 | Avalanche 4
16:37: Colorado scores to win Game 1.
20:00: Overtime begins!
0:00: The third period concludes and Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final will be heading to overtime.
20:00: The third and last period is underway!
6:21 Goal: Mikhail Sergachev scores, assisted by Anthony Cirelli and Brandon Hagel. Tie game, 3-3.
7:09 Goal: Ondrej Palat scores, assisted by Ryan McDonagh and Nikita Kucherov. Bolts down, 3-2.
2:25 Goal: Artturi Lehkonen scores for the Avalanche, assisted by Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen. Bolts down, 3-1.
7:34: Goal: Nick Paul scores to get his team on the scoresheet! Assisted by Victor Hedman and Brayden Point. Bolts down, 2-1.
10:30: Goal: The Avalanche get another goal. Bolts down, 2-0.
12:13: Goal: Colorado gets the first goal of the game to take an early 1-0 lead against the Bolts.
20:00: The puck is dropped and the first period is underway!
8:04 p.m. Tonight's starting lineup for the Bolts!
Original story below:
See, this team can still go through new experiences.
While the result might look the same, each team is unique.
Each Stanley Cup run is unique.
“You realize the potential that this group has and how special it is. You don’t want to waste these opportunities," Bolts captain Steven Stamkos said. "Our group is too good to not give ourselves a chance to compete for the Stanley Cup.”
In 2020 and 2021, there weren't too many moments of panic. The Lightning went to a Game 7 with the New York Islanders, but that was probably the most nerve-wracking experience during the back-to-back seasons.
During these playoffs, there have been many moments where we have all wondered:
'Are these guys done?'
As head coach Jon Cooper understands, these guys are relentless in the pursuit of excellence.
"You don't think you get this far unless there is a belief, a want, a drive to be better. It has taken so much to get here. Why not keep going? That's been a big theme for our (locker room), putting a stamp on history."
Now, none of this guarantees them four more wins.
The Colorado Avalanche view themselves a little bit like the Tampa Bay Lightning. A core group of astounding athletes with a rolodex of mistakes along the way. This is their opportunity, too.
“We’re looking to dethrone the champs," former Stanley Cup champion and Colorado GM Joe Sakic said.
Tampa Bay's path to the Stanley Cup prepares them nicely for one of the best scoring offenses in the league. Going through Toronto, Florida and New York is great preparation for what the Avalanche bring — the only difference is the Bolts do not know the Avalanche as well as those Eastern Conference foes.
"This team poses a unique challenge in what maybe others haven't," Cooper said.
The Lightning would have a big boost if Brayden Point can suit up for Game 1. He was a full participant in practice on Tuesday inside Ball Arena. Cooper said there is a 'chance' he will play. Even if he doesn't step onto the ice Wednesday night, it looks like he will definitely be back Saturday at the latest.
“It’s been great. It’s been inspiring," Point said watching his teammates rattle two series victories. "They’ve played fantastic hockey. Guys have worked really hard to get to this point and sacrificed their bodies to get to this point.”
If there is one lopsided advantage in this contest, it is Andrei Vasilevskiy versus whoever Colorado puts in the net. The Lightning just came from Igor Shesterkin — this should be much easier, right?
As for the Avalanche, the St. Louis Blues were probably their best look at what the Lightning will bring to the table. Before Jordan Binnington got hurt, the Blues held Colorado to three goals in the first two games of regulation. We are not quite sure how the Avs will adjust when the ice shrinks a bit, not to mention they're dealing with injuries of their own.
The Bolts have been underdogs a few times in this playoff run, so they will not be threatened by the thought of these vaunted Avalanche.
With the Lightning in search of their "dynasty," it is still a bit confusing why fans and pundits still doubt these guys.
What more do they need to do?
“I think about the Patriots growing up and going to school in Boston when they were winning a ton," Alex Killorn said. "You think about our team. I would not call us a dynasty. If this series goes well, I think you could.”