DENVER (Associated Press) – What emerged from the Tampa Bay Lightning Saturday night wasn’t the championship’s pedigree or its ability to recover, but the frayed nerves and perhaps the realization that the Colorado avalanche is fast approaching for their crown.
defeated. was bypassed. out of the fray.
Andrei Vasilevsky and two-time Stanley Cup champion were decimated 7-0 by an avalanche, losing not only the match, but their cool and talent in the process.
It was only the second time in Vasilevskiy’s 465-game NHL career that he allowed so many goals per game.
Captain Stephen Stamkos was rocking and bouncing to battle Lightning 3-0 in the first period. Corey Perry went into the penalty area at the end of the second half with Tampa Bay trailing 5-0 after getting into a brawl in Colorado with JT Comfer.
The teams battled with 4:22 remaining in the third game and the score was decided for a long time.
Lightning’s side were unconcerned about losing 4-3 overtime to Avalanche in Game 1, insisting that they would bounce back behind the great goalkeeper now that they’ve seen firsthand all that speed and skill that avalanche had on the teams.
They were equally confident that they decoded Darcy Comber after erasing a pair from two goals behind in the opener before losing in overtime.
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Instead, Lightning became the third team ever to allow three or more goals in the first half in the first two games of a Stanley Cup Final, joining the Minnesota North Stars in 1981 against the Islanders and the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1936 against the Detroit Red Wings.
The avalanche kept their lead and heads on all night, and they are now halfway into the Lord Stanley Cup net of the two-time champions as the series moves to Tampa Bay in Game 3 Monday night.
Lightning’s confidence in winning Game 2 and dominating the series was well established. They were the best bounce back team in the NHL while winning back-to-back titles and reaching their third consecutive Stanley Cup, going 18-1 after losing the playoff since the start of the first round in 2020. Vasilevsky was in the net for all of those games.
Make that 18-2.
Colorado defender Cal Makar’s goal early in the third made the score 6-0 and poured salt into the critical wound with a solid playing goal as the avalanche improved his home league record to 58-8-5 in his last 71 Ball Arena games, including playoffs.
They went 7-2 at home this year and 7-0 on the road in the playoffs.
The Lightning has yet to overcome an avalanche this season, having lost twice in the regular season in Denver, once in overtime and once in penalty shootouts.
If they don’t fix their myriad problems quickly, they won’t have a chance to return to Denver after Game 3 and 4 in Tampa.