TAMPA, Fla. — What a distinction 48 hours and a venue change makes.
Dealing with a 2-0 deficit within the 2022 Stanley Cup Remaining — and coming off of a 7-0 loss to the Colorado Avalanche that felt much more lopsided than that rating — the Tampa Bay Lightning returned dwelling and threw an epic counterpunch, skating off with a 6-2 victory in entrance of a raucous crowd at Amalie Enviornment.
The tenor of the sequence appears to have shifted, and introduced on a legit goalie controversy for the Avs, who changed Darcy Kuemper halfway by means of the second interval of this blowout loss.
What did we be taught on this contest? And has the momentum of your complete Stanley Cup Remaining shifted within the Lightning’s favor?
It is a sequence once more
After the Lightning have been embarrassed in Sport 2 with a 7-0 defeat, captain Steven Stamkos stated “let’s discover out what we’re product of once we get again dwelling.”
What a response in Sport 3 from the back-to-back Stanley Cup champions. They defended to the requirements, limiting an opponent to 2 objectives or much less at dwelling for the sixth straight recreation. They received star performances from their prime gamers — Stamkos, Victor Hedman, Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov had multi-point video games, whereas goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy had 37 saves.
Solely 5 occasions in NHL historical past has the defending Stanley Cup champion trailed 3-0 in a best-of-seven playoff sequence. None got here again to win, and 4 of the 5 sequence led to a sweep.
The Lightning haven’t got to fret about that now. It is a sequence once more. — Greg Wyshynski
Deliver the thunder
Monday marked virtually one month to the day that Colorado final tasted defeat. They got here into the Cup Remaining with a playoff report of 12-2. In Sport 3, Tampa Bay served their guests a heaping slice of humble pie.
The Avalanche thought Valeri Nichushkin scored the sport’s first purpose. Jon Cooper efficiently challenged for offside. Deflating.
Then Gabriel Landeskog truly scored on the facility play. 1-0, Colorado. However not for lengthy. As a result of after a completely dominant efficiency in Sport 2, the Avalanche did not (or could not) execute to the identical degree. They weren’t successful the races or the battles. They weren’t suffocating within the impartial zone. As an alternative of pushing Tampa Bay round, the Lightning struck again — repeatedly.
Colorado was at a drawback with out Andre Burakovsky within the lineup following a shot block off the hand in Sport 2. Nazem Kadri (damaged thumb) additionally stays out. However that is no excuse. The Avalanche have lauded — and been lauded for — their depth all season. It failed them in Sport 3 whereas the Lightning’s depth allowed them to roll proper by means of.
And, it does not damage that Vasilevskiy was unbelievable. Darcy Kuemper, in the meantime, was pulled after permitting 5 objectives on 22 pictures, changed by Pavel Francouz. Incoming goalie controversy? Simply what the Avalanche do not want.
Tampa Bay was the higher crew in each facet of Sport 3. Colorado received two objectives out of Landeskog on the facility play and have been thwarted most in every single place else. It was the most important margin by which Colorado has misplaced within the playoffs, eclipsing a 4-1 defeat to the St. Louis Blues on — checks notes — Could 19.
Suffice it to say, that is uncharted territory for Colorado within the playoffs. The place do they go from right here? — Kristen Shilton
Steven Stamkos attributes taking part in on their dwelling ice as an element aiding the Lightning’s potential to get again into the sequence.
No false begin
The beginning of Sport 3 was what the Lightning wanted, and what they have been lacking of their earlier two losses.
Within the first two video games of the sequence, the Lightning discovered themselves down by a number of objectives throughout the first 10 minutes of the sport. These poor begins on the highway impacted the whole lot else within the recreation. They could not set up something they needed to do to decelerate the Avalanche assault. They expended power making an attempt to climb out of these holes, leaving little left to defend Colorado or set up their very own offense.
They have been additionally self-dug holes. The Lightning gave the Avalanche a 5-on-3 energy play within the first interval of Sport 1. They took a penalty 1:01 into Sport 2. Colorado transformed on each probabilities.
As he usually does, winger Pat Maroon provided sage evaluation of the scenario for Tampa Bay, and the way they might apply the teachings discovered in Video games 1 and a couple of to Sport 3.
“You get these guys feeling good, feeling the puck, it is a totally different ballgame. So keep out of the field and play our recreation. Play Tampa Bay Lightning hockey. Don’t fret concerning the rating. Don’t fret concerning the end result,” he stated. “Pay attention, in the event that they rating the primary purpose, that is high quality. Simply maintain taking part in the way in which we’re taking part in, maintain discovering methods to create offense.”
The Avalanche did rating the primary purpose. Effectively, finally they did, as Nichushkin’s change-up shot that beat Vasilevskiy was wiped off the board by video evaluate as a result of an offside. Landeskog’s power-play tally at 8:19 made it 1-0; however as Maroon recommended, the Lightning stored taking part in like they have been taking part in.
Heart Anthony Cirelli went to the web onerous and the puck slid by means of Darcy Kuemper at 13:03 to tie the sport. Then the Lightning’s ability took over, as Palat intercepted a move, Kucherov drew defenders within the attacking zone and Stamkos used that room to seek out Palat for his tenth purpose of the playoffs.
Tampa Bay completed the primary interval with a 2-1 benefit. They’re now 7-1 within the playoffs after they lead after the primary. It wasn’t an ideal opening body, however it was adequate to construct a basis on which they constructed their Sport 3 win. — Wyshynski
GOAT to goat?
Kuemper stays a playoff enigma. And it received him pulled from Sport 3.
The Avs beginning goalie was dialed in rapidly, making huge stops early within the first interval. His positioning was hardly textbook, however the puck stayed out. Colorado was struggling by means of the impartial zone, a common power of theirs, so Kuemper’s contributions have been much more noticeable in getting the Avalanche a 1-0 lead.
He was clutch once more on Tampa Bay’s first power-play likelihood. Proper earlier than the wheels fell off.
Anthony Cirelli beat Kuemper on Tampa Bay’s second man benefit with a shot that regarded extra like a failed dangling try. Ondrej Palat put a puck previous him cleanly with one other savable strike. On and on, the Lightning scored, till Kuemper had allowed 5 objectives on 22 pictures (for a .773 save proportion) halfway by means of the second.
Kuemper wasn’t making the stops he ought to have made. The harder stuff stayed out. Why? Who is aware of. Both means, it was hey, Pavel Francouz.
It was the fitting name by coach Jared Bednar. As Vasilevskiy received higher and higher on the different finish, Kuemper was floundering. He was down too early, not monitoring the puck properly and the Lightning have been choosing him aside.
Sport 3 was the primary time since Colorado performed St. Louis within the second spherical that Kuemper had been referred to as upon to step up. He failed — slightly sadly — in that project.
Francouz was high quality in aid, making 9 saves on 10 pictures.
What is going to Bednar do now? Persist with Francouz, who entered Sport 3 with a 6-0 report, .906 save proportion and a couple of.86 goals-against common within the postseason? Or give Kuemper the good thing about the doubt like Jon Cooper did for Vasilevskiy after a tough Sport 1? Which goalie realistically offers Colorado the very best likelihood if Vasilevskiy is again in beast mode?
It is a huge resolution. All that hangs within the stability is Colorado’s hopes of successful the Cup. — Shilton
Ondrej Palat places away a pleasant purpose to provide the Lightning a 2-1 lead over the Avalanche.
Excellent news, unhealthy information for Tampa Bay’s protection
The Lightning did not chase Colorado throughout Sport 3. They did not permit the Avalanche many odd-man probabilities. They stayed of their construction, protecting these marauding Colorado forwards in entrance of them and providing puck assist within the defensive zone. A crew that regarded prefer it was going to get skated out of the sequence immediately was in a position to match the Avalanche’s power. Good protection and an improved forecheck will do this.
The slightly gorgeous end result: The Avalanche have been held with out an even-strength purpose in Sport 3, after scoring seven of them within the earlier two video games. It was simply the second time in 17 postseason video games that the Avalanche failed to attain at even power. One large issue: The Lightning had the final line change at dwelling. That meant they might maintain Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov away from the Nathan MacKinnon line and ship Anthony Cirelli’s checking line with Alex Killorn and Brandon Hagel on the market towards the Avalanche’s prime trio.
Tampa Bay’s shutdown line made such a distinction within the Japanese Convention finals towards the New York Rangers after they have been assigned the Mike Zibanejad line beginning in Sport 3. They did not have the shot-attempt benefit towards the MacKinnon line — who may? — however they stored them off the board at even power.
The Lightning talked about having left Andrei Vasilevskiy “out to dry” in Sport 2. They gave him much more assist in Sport 3, and he responded in variety with 37 saves on 39 pictures.
Now the unhealthy information: The Avalanche continued to dominate on the facility play. The Lightning entered Sport 3 killing simply 70.8% of the facility performs they confronted on dwelling ice. Colorado scored twice on the facility play and now has 5 objectives with the person benefit within the sequence. — Wyshynski
Star snuffed out?
The Avalanche have been lacking key items from the lineup in Sport 3. One of many ones accessible did not assist make up for it.
Nathan MacKinnon hasn’t scored a purpose within the Cup Remaining, notching solely a pair of assists in three video games. A lot of the main focus has, rightfully, gone to all of the Avalanche’s depth contributors. Bednar has repeatedly said he does not need MacKinnon to place the crew on his again. That is not precisely what Colorado wanted in Sport 3. It simply wanted just a little star energy.
MacKinnon would have earned an help if Nichuskin’s first purpose stood; it was a wonderful helper at that. The Avalanche simply wanted just a little extra out of MacKinnon after that, to match what Tampa Bay had cooking. Stamkos and Cirelli have been scoring alongside Corey Perry and Pat Maroon, because the Lightning received manufacturing from up and down the lineup.
Cale Makar has rebounded from a tough (for him) Sport 1, was glorious in Sport 2 and strong once more on Monday. He deftly broke up a 2-on-1 rush within the third interval that did not do a lot to assist Colorado’s probabilities, however was an instance of how rapidly he can tilt the ice and make a superb play. Makar’s two-point night time additionally places him third general in NHL playoff scoring with seven objectives and 26 factors in 17 video games.
Backside line: It is time for MacKinnon to have a giant night time. Like, Sport 5 within the second spherical towards St. Louis degree huge. It is not about placing strain on himself to be “The Man” each night time. However Colorado wants just a little enhance from somebody proper now, and MacKinnon can (and will) be the somebody to assist present it. — Shilton
Steven Stamkos receives the puck and places dwelling a pleasant purpose to provide the Lightning a 4-2 lead.
One thing’s gotta give — or does it?
Enjoyable truth: Colorado had not misplaced a playoff recreation on the highway till Monday.
Here is one other: Tampa Bay hadn’t misplaced a playoff recreation at dwelling, both. They nonetheless have not.
Sport 3 was the primary time in Stanley Cup Remaining historical past the place each groups entered using lively dwelling and highway successful streaks of seven-plus video games.
That is an elite degree of “evenly matched.” Will we see that development proceed in Video games 4 by means of 7, and foreshadow the winner of this sequence? — Shilton