Lightning reclaim the lead, best buddies in the stands and more from Game 5 of Stanley Cup Final

Lightning reclaim the lead, best buddies in the stands and more from Game 5 of Stanley Cup Final

The Stanley Cup is in the building. The Colorado Avalanche lead the best-of-seven series with the Tampa Bay Lightning, 3-1. The Avs could close out the series and keep the Cup in the building in Friday’s Game 5.

Game 4, which ended in a 3-2 Colorado overtime win, did not come without controversy. Video replay appeared to show that Colorado had too many men on the ice when Nazem Kadri scored the game-winner.

Now, the two-time defending champ Lightning are on the ropes and the Avalanche are on the verge of winning their first Cup since 2001.

Here are the best scenes from Game 5.

Tampa’s not done

Ondrej Palat isn’t ready to give up just yet, as he silenced the Colorado crowd with a go-ahead goal late in the third.

Avs tie it up

A horrible break for the Lightning, as one sneaks by Vasilevskiy to tie the game 2-2. Cale Makar is the one credited with the goal.

Avalanche second period takeaways

Cale Makar couldn’t help but look skyward.

Ondrej Palat had just skated over his stick and fallen to the ice, which was called as a tripping penalty on Makar. The sides were already playing 4-on-4 after JT Compher was assessed a late holding the stick penalty and after Alex Killorn had already been called for a hold.

Nikita Kucherov scored on the ensuing Lightning power play, which was only Tampa Bay’s second goal with the man advantage in the Cup Final.

Given Makar is one of Colorado’s top penalty killers it wasn’t a totally shocking development.

It was one of a couple no-calls that did not favor Colorado in the second. Pat Maroon wasn’t penalized for dropping Nathan MacKinnon to the ice and a Tampa Bay trip went uncalled in front of the official.

Then there was no delay of game call when Nick Paul shot the puck out of play on a shorthanded clearing attempt.

The margin for error in the game so far is wafer thin at even-strength, so the special teams battle is — and will continue to be — prominent. — Kristen Shilton

Lightning second period takeaways

No-touch icing has its benefits, like keeping players from catastrophic collisions into the end boards. It also has its drawbacks, as the linesman makes a judgment call on which player theoretically would touch the puck first during a chase between opponents. The Lightning got burned by the latter in the second period, as it certainly appeared that Nick Paul had position to touch the puck but the linesman whistled icing. That led to a faceoff on the other end of the ice, which then led to Valeri Nichushkin’s game-tying goal.

But the officials taketh away and they giveth. With the teams playing 4-on-4 after matching holding penalties, Cale Makar was called for a rather specious tripping penalty to set up a 4-on-3 power play. If the Lightning were ever going to score on the man advantage, it was going to be here, and Nikita Kucherov lasered his eighth of the playoffs into the net at 8:10. It was just the second power-play goal for the Lightning in 17 attempts this series.

The icing aside, the Lightning have gotten the benefit of the officiating in Game 5. Which conspiracy theory wins out: that the NHL “wants” a Game 6 or that Jon Cooper’s protest over that missed too many men on the ice penalty at the end of Game 4 influenced the officiating in Game 5?

In any case, the Lightning are 20 minutes away from keeping the three-peat alive. — Greg Wyshynski

Tampa strikes back

The Lightning do not want this series to end tonight, with Nikita Kucherov giving Tampa Bay the lead again with a power-play goal.

All tied up

A little confusion in front of the Lightning’s goal led to an Avalanche score, this time by Valeri Nichushkin.

Friends watch hockey together

Former Denver Broncos teammates and longtime friends Von Miller and Brandon McManus took in the Stanley Cup action rinkside.

Lightning first period takeaways

The Lightning identified the first 10 minutes of Game 5 as being absolutely pivotal.

“They feed off that first 5-10 minutes and you really have to be engaged in your game. Because then they start getting momentum,” said coach Jon Cooper.

The good news for the Lightning was that, unlike their first two games in Denver, they were not down by multiple goals by the midway mark of the opening period. The bad news is that they spent 40% of those minutes on the power play and came away with nothing to show for it, getting just two shots on goal.

The best news: They ended up scoring the first goal at 15:21 of the first period, as Jan Rutta beat Darcy Kuemper cleanly. Besides a good first 10 minutes, the Lightning also talked about how getting a lead would allow them to get their game and have Colorado chase it a little bit. Given Colorado’s stamina advantages at this point in the postseason, that’s essential. — Greg Wyshynski

Avalanche first period takeaways

Colorado’s special teams came up big in the first period.

Tampa Bay drew two penalties in the opening 10 minutes, forcing the Avalanche’s aggressive penalty kill to come up with quick answers. Colorado has been excellent while shorthanded all series and that continued as the Lightning dropped to 1-for-17 with the extra man in this Cup Final.

The Avalanche’s lone power play attempt of the frame generated some great looks on Andrei Vasilevskiy but failed to beat the Big Cat.

While no one drew blood on power plays, a special teams-heavy frame likely wasn’t the start anyone wanted to a potential Stanley Cup-clinching game. There were obvious nerves on both sides with poor passing and bad shot attempts. A few times the Avalanche were caught being too cute with the puck, at 5-on-5 and on the power play, which is a dangerous game to play against the opportunistic Lightning.

In this series, the first period has often been a feeling-out process before the back-and-forth really begins. The pace already picked up significantly in the final two minutes. Let’s see if that continues into the second. — Kristen Shilton

Another early lead for Tampa

A bit of a surprise goal from the Lightning, as Jan Rutta snuck one by Darcy Kuemper’s defenses.

Bringing your fans with you

Tampa Bay had a very special cheering section for them inside a raucous Ball Arena.

Pregame looks

The Avalanche went with some stylish looks in front of neon lighting for their walk to the arena, while the Lightning looked bright and optimistic despite their deficit.

The Cup is rested and ready

#Lightning #reclaim #lead #buddies #stands #Game #Stanley #Cup #Final

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *