Overtime in Game One of the Stanley Cup Final is exactly what we all needed. Despite a stellar start from the Avalanche where they took a 3-1 lead out of the first period, the Lightning came back in the second to tie things and start this series with a nerve-racking third period.
The third period was a bit of a tennis match. The Lightning had some good changes but Darcy Kuemper stood tall. He stopped all 5 shots he faced that period. The Avs’ offense got a little closer, they had a great late powerplay that carried onto OT but it helped them nearly close the game out with some last-minute shots they desperately needed. Despite their efforts, Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped all 12 shots the Avalanche put up that period. Therefore, in the infancy of what is going to be a good series, we got some overtime hockey.
And knowing these two teams are the best of the best, it did not take long for the Avs to seal this win. Their powerplay ran out but they took advantage of every opportunity they had. It did not take long for Andre Burakovsky to team up with Val Nichushkin, who had the Avs’ second goal tonight, and JT Compher to end this game in an Avalanche 1-0 series lead.
I am ecstatic for the Avalanche. They had 9 days off and didn’t really miss a beat. They had some troubles in the second but they started off strong and kept their heads off when things took a turn. They know how important every game is in this series. Every single one. They’ve spent so many years missing this that they are going to take control of every minute they have. Captain Gabe Landeskog played a phenomenal game, he had a goal and an assist in 23:02 minutes played. Cale Makar wasn’t on the score sheet but he blocked 3 shots and played a whopping 28:50. He skated over 4 miles tonight. I can’t even run that. Darren Helm and Erik Johnson brought the physical presence. Helm put up 10 hits and Johnson had 6 of this own. The Avs did a great job of keeping the Lightning off Darcy Kuemper, he only faced 23 shots and he stopped 20 of them. Meanwhile, the Avs peppered Vasilevskiy and put up 32 shots, 29 of which he stopped.
Ball Arena was losing its mind. These fans are ready to help pull this team through this series.
I’m excited for the next one. It’s sadly not until Saturday night but it will be a thriller for sure. GO AVS GO!!!!
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Featured Image: Colorado Avalanche Twitter