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Is Burakowski more likely to play in Game 6?

Instead of a champagne hangover, he and the rest of the Avalanche boarded an early morning flight to Tampa to prepare for a Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals Sunday night. The Tampa Bay Lightning rained with […] (Author: Gardener)

BurakowskiIt wasn't the kind of tomorrow Jared Bednar and the Colorado Avalanche wanted. Instead of a champagne hangover, he and the rest of the Avalanche boarded an early morning flight to Tampa to prepare for a Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals Sunday night. The Tampa Bay Lightning rained down on Avalanche Parade plans last night in Game 5 with a brave 3-2 in the Ball Arena. Of course, the Avalanche still have two chances to win a game, all that is required to then lift the most famous trophy in all sports. A lost Sunday and it's a Game 7 at the Ball Arena on Tuesday night. The Avalanche are 0-5 in their last five Game 7s. The Avalanche could get a fresh body back for Game 6 in the form of Andre Burakovsky. He accompanied the team to Tampa — unlike for Games 3 and 4 — and Bednar said he was a possibility to play again. He was also for Game 5 but the decision was made for him not to play. He's a possibility for us. He's traveling with us, so hopefully he can be added to the lineup," Bednar said, with our own Ryan Boulding at DIA before the team took off. Bednar tried to sound as upbeat as possible to move forward - and look back on last night's disappointment. "Our boys played hard. It was a hard-fought game," he said. "We created enough chances to win the game. We also gave up a few more than I would have liked and got some penalties that kind of hurt us. But overall, nice game, didn't make it, now we have to take to the streets and win a hockey game. “You have to have that desperation because it's the final. You have to be desperate in every single game and I think that's at least what we talked about," Manson said. "They came back to us in St. Louis and we felt like we had to kind of despair." For the 12th time in 15 years and 43rd time overall, the Stanley Cup final requires at least six games - with the host Lightning tries to force the 18th game 7 in the history of the finals. Tampa Bay became the 17th team to avoid a straight 3-1 deficit in a best-of-seven final (of the 37 that trailed by that margin). DET), 1945 Red Wings (4-3 L vs. DET). So the odds are still in favor of the Colorado Avalanche.

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Jared Bednar is happy with his scoring chances in Game 5, but it needs more efficient work to win the Stanley Cup

Twice in the hours following his team's 3-2 loss to Tampa Bay in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals, Avalanche coach Jared Bednar's message on scoring chances remained the same. (Author: Gardener)

Game 5Twice in the hours following his team's 3-2 loss to Tampa Bay in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals, Avalanche coach Jared Bednar's message on scoring chances remained the same. Saturday morning: "(We) created a lot of chances, probably enough chances to win the game." Industry website Natural Stat Trick credited the Avs with 25 scoring chances and five high-hazard chances. The expected goal total was 1.72, giving the Avs essentially what they analytically deserved and holding under three goals for only the third time in 19 playoff games. The Avalanche has at least 30 shots on target in every game of the finals, including 37 on Friday. But with the Avs regrouping after Game 5 and preparing for Sunday's Game 6 in Tampa, should Bednar be happy with the quality of the chances? Yes: Long shots from defender Cale Makar led to both goals, via Valeri Nichushkin's rebound and a deflected rebound off Lightning defender Erik Cernak's skate. Did he not see a high-quality recording? It's crucial for the Avalanche to reignite their forecheck, which maintains zone time, which tires Lightning defenders, which leaves them vulnerable to penalties, which creates power play opportunities, which creates opportunities to shield Vasilevskiy. And it's also necessary to have more effective zone entrances to create rush opportunities. The Lightning tightened the vice grip on the Avalanche throughout Game 5. "I think there's definitely more checking in this game than probably in previous games," Bednar said. Tampa Bay had 33 hits, including 10 from its defenders. "When you're at that point everyone's talking about goalies and you have your goalscorers, but when you don't have a core [of defenders] it's difficult to continue," said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. Centers Nathan MacKinnon and Nazem Kadri were carried into the zone and doubled in, leading to turnovers. Kadri was checked on the sideboards by defender Victor Hedman. And with 3:30 left in the first, Nichushkin's pass found MacKinnon in full flight, but he was stopped by Lightning defender Mikhail Sergachev's terrific open ice hit. The Avalanche attempted to carry the puck into the zone to start the second period, but it appeared their plan would be changed as the third period began. Toews chip in. Two more Toews dump-ins. Two Kadri dump ins. Once the Avs control ball possession in the Lightning zone, they can start using their best player (Makar) who is a caster while skating along the blue line looking for a shooting lane and also charging into the circles for close shots . Makar's 29 points (eight goals, 21 assists) is the most by a defenseman in the postseason since Brian Leetch of the New York Rangers in 1994 (34 points). In the past 40 years, only three defensemen have scored more points than Makar in a playoff year — Edmonton's Paul Coffey (37 in 1985) and Calgary's Al MacInnis (31 in 1989). Coffey, MacInnis and Leetch all won the Stanley Cup; Makar is one win away. MacInnis and Leetch won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP; Makar is just one win away from becoming a deserving winner of this award. In Game 6, played on crappy ice, should Makar, who has Bednar's full confidence to start the onslaught, be even more active and make long band-to-band passing difficult? This must be a Cale Makar game. Dash into mid-ice to pull Lightning defenders in, then hit a high-impact pass down the flanks to streaky wingers and centers. A combination of Makar on the move and the dump-in/chip-in play might be the Avs' best strategy to avoid a game 7. "It's a tough team to play against," said Avs defenseman Josh Manson.

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Colorado Avalanche fan banned from hockey games after scattering friend's ashes on ice

Ryan Clark and Kyle Stark were best friends and die-hard fans of the Colorado Avalanche hockey team (Author: Gardener)

Colorado AvalancheMany are excited about the inevitability of landing NFL Sunday Ticket with a new carrier for a variety of reasons, from the possibility of improved customer service over DirecTV's current "please wait" approach to the potential for expanded features and more viewing options outside the market games. No important change is made. It will not be a whole [more]

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Five things to consider when Avalanche faces Lightning

The Avalanche has its second straight chance to win the Stanley Cup, this time in Game 6 of Sunday night's finals at the Amalie Arena. (Author: Gardener)

Avalanche- The Avalanche has its second chance to win the Stanley Cup, this time in Game 6 on Sunday night at the Amalie Arena. The Avs, seeking their second cup win in Florida (vs. the Panthers in Miami in 1996), are the league's top winners this postseason, 8-1, and have won their last three series outside of Denver. If they continue to play with that confidence and brag at the Amalie Arena, the Stanley Cup could make it onto the ice after the game. And in overtime, Colorado was near-perfect, with a 5-1 win over the 1996 Cup-winning team and the most OT wins in a playoff year. Perhaps the Avs are destined to win the trophy in a stressful street environment. Is it time to reunite center Nathan MacKinnon with wingers Gabe Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen? The much-cited MGM line has been intact at times this postseason -- including late in Game 4 -- but it could be time to win or lose with the heralded trio on equal strength. MacKinnon played with Landeskog and right winger Valeri Nichushkin, and Rantanen switched to the second row with center Nazem Kadri and left winger Artturi Lehkonen. Avalanche coach Jared Bednar likes having Rantanen and colleague Finn Lehkonen on the wings together, but Rantanen only had one shot in Game 5 and Lehkonen didn't have one. It could be time for Bednar to stack the MacKinnon line with the two wingers most familiar with No. 29, who has yet to score with his racquet this series. Something isn't right with the top 6 at equal strength, so perhaps Bednar will return to what has worked so well for the past four years. The Avalanche is at its best when attacking in waves, wearing down teams with unrelenting pressure. Colorado took the first penalty in Game 5, disrupting the game plan to create that offensive rush in front of the Stanley Cup-craving crowd at Ball Arena. Third line center J.T. Compher is sure to have a better game in Game 6 after holding high sticks and minors in Game 5. And second-line center Nazem Kadri, who violated the backcheck through the neutral zone, wasn't needed. If the Avs play more disciplined and only take the penalties they need to - the ones that prevent scoring chances - the flow will go away. Avs goalie Darcy Kuemper wasn't good enough in Game 5. Just look at his .897 save percentage (26 saves from 29 shots) -- the third time in five games he's been under .900 in the series. Kuemper needs to hit .920 or more to beat Tampa Bay and goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy. "Vasy" stopped 35 of 37 shots in Game 5 (.946). The Avs need Kuemper to close the gap. 5) Take the lead. Tampa Bay is 4-5 when conceding the first goal and 2-5 when trailing after two periods this postseason. The Lightning hasn't been great on comebacks and the Avs are naturally more successful when playing with a lead. They are 8-2 if they score the first goal and 9-1 if they lead into the third period. Colorado has nine comeback wins this postseason, a club record that ranks with the second-highest in NHL history. But the Avs would rather not be in that position.

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Can the Colorado Avalanche and the NHL keep their female and youth fans?

One of the biggest stories in the NHL this season has been the surge in viewership in the first year of the league's television deals with ESPN and TNT. The league is also seeing unprecedented growth in female and younger fans, which should have a major impact in the years to come. (Author: Gardener)

NHLOne of the biggest stories in the NHL this season has been the surge in viewership in the first year of the league's television deals with ESPN and TNT. The league is also seeing unprecedented growth in female and younger fans, which should have a major impact in the years to come. According to NHL research, 37% of ice hockey fans are female, including a staggering 26% growth in this demographic since 2016. Most of these new fans are likely also in the coveted 18-49 age group, as nearly 40% of them all NHL fans are under 50. Kali Mick -- an Avalanche fan who lives in Colorado and is part of the league's Power Players Youth Advisory Board -- said the recent growth is due to the league getting more of the human side of the game has shown. "We see more player interviews, family moments and these heartfelt things that happen off the ice and this mix of great highlights that we see too," she said. "It's been really great for getting more people into the game because people who don't know the sport will connect more to the human moments. The surge in female viewership was higher during Wednesday night's games on TNT. During the regular season, there was a 44% increase in female viewership compared to previous years when games were broadcast on NBCSN. "Not only do we want to give our devoted fans the content they love, but how do we share it with regular and new fans and make sure they feel welcome," said Heidi Browning, senior executive vice president and top marketing at the NHL officer. Efforts to build connections include social media. The league formed a content partnership with TikTok, while the deal with Turner resulted in Bleacher Report expanding its coverage and the B/R Open Ice vertical. Bleacher Report's ice hockey website recorded its busiest month in May (35.8 million page views) and saw interactions triple compared to the previous year. Browning is also pleased with the proportion of young fans in the NHL. Founded in 2019, the Power Players board gathers the opinions of fans and social influencers aged 13-17. Aidan Gunn, who is also a member of the board, highlighted the changes in marketing for growth. “I really believe that social media is basically an elevator pitch, you have two seconds to get someone's attention. And I think (in) the NHL as of late that has been fully reflected in their marketing strategy. Mack said of the things she's noticed from the board's recommendations are more activity on TikTok showing things like players going to the arena, as well as pre-game fashion choices that have increased traffic on NBA and NFL websites . The growth in younger fans should also translate to increased revenue in future seasons. Commissioner Gary Bettman said revenue for this year should top $5.2 billion. "Growth and interest starts with the game," Bettman said ahead of the start of the Stanley Cup Finals.

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Jared Bednar is happy with his scoring chances in Game 5, but it needs more efficient work to win the Stanley Cup

Twice in the hours following his team's 3-2 loss to Tampa Bay in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals, Avalanche coach Jared Bednar's message on scoring chances remained the same. Friday night: "I don't mind." Saturday morning: "(We) created a lot of chances, probably enough chances to win the game." Industry website Natural Stat Trick put the Avs... (Author: Gardener)

Game 5Twice in the hours following his team's 3-2 loss to Tampa Bay in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals, Avalanche coach Jared Bednar's message on scoring chances remained the same. Saturday morning: "(We) created a lot of chances, probably enough chances to win the game." Industry website Natural Stat Trick credited the Avs with 25 scoring chances and five high-hazard chances. The expected goal total was 1.72, giving the Avs essentially what they analytically deserved and holding under three goals for only the third time in 19 playoff games. The Avalanche has at least 30 shots on target in every game of the finals, including 37 on Friday. But with the Avs regrouping after Game 5 and preparing for Sunday's Game 6 in Tampa, should Bednar be happy with the quality of the chances? Yes: Long shots from defender Cale Makar led to both goals, via Valeri Nichushkin's rebound and a deflected rebound off Lightning defender Erik Cernak's skate. Did he not see a high-quality recording? The "no" part of the equation should be a focus for the Avalanche, who work on screens and redirects in the field on a daily basis. It's crucial for the Avalanche to reignite their forecheck, which maintains zone time, which tires Lightning defenders, which leaves them vulnerable to penalties, which creates power play opportunities, which creates opportunities to shield Vasilevskiy. And it's also necessary to have more effective zone entrances to create rush opportunities. The Lightning tightened the vice grip on the Avalanche throughout Game 5. "I think there's definitely more checking in this game than probably in previous games," Bednar said. Tampa Bay had 33 hits, including 10 from its defenders. "When you're at that point everyone's talking about goalies and you have your goalscorers, but when you don't have a core [of defenders] it's difficult to continue," said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. Centers Nathan MacKinnon and Nazem Kadri were carried into the zone and doubled in, leading to turnovers. Kadri was checked on the sideboards by defender Victor Hedman. And with 3:30 left in the first, Nichushkin's pass found MacKinnon in full flight, but he was stopped by Lightning defender Mikhail Sergachev's terrific open ice hit. The Avalanche attempted to carry the puck into the zone to start the second period, but it appeared their plan would be changed as the third period began. Toews chip in. Two more Toews dump-ins. Two Kadri dump ins. And a Nichushkin chip-in. Once the Avs control ball possession in the Lightning zone, they can start using their best player (Makar) who is a caster while skating along the blue line looking for a shooting lane and also charging into the circles for close shots . Makar's 29 points (eight goals, 21 assists) is the most by a defenseman in the postseason since Brian Leetch of the New York Rangers in 1994 (34 points). In the past 40 years, only three defensemen have scored more points than Makar in a playoff year — Edmonton's Paul Coffey (37 in 1985) and Calgary's Al MacInnis (31 in 1989). Coffey, MacInnis and Leetch all won the Stanley Cup; Makar is one win away. MacInnis and Leetch won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP; Makar is just one win away from becoming a deserving winner of this award. In Game 6, played on crappy ice, should Makar, who has Bednar's full confidence to start the onslaught, be even more active and make long band-to-band passing difficult? This must be a Cale Makar game. Dash into mid-ice to pull Lightning defenders in, then hit a high-impact pass down the flanks to streaky wingers and centers. A combination of Makar on the move and the dump-in/chip-in play might be the Avs' best strategy to avoid a game 7. "It's a tough team to play against," said Avs defenseman Josh Manson.

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Palat keeps Lightning alive with heroics in Game 5

Lightning star Ondrej Palat got back into the clutch and scored the game-winning goal in the third period of Game 5 to keep Tampa Bay's title hopes alive. (Author: Gardener)

Game 5DENVER -- When the Tampa Bay Lightning need a clutch goal in the third third of the Stanley Cup playoffs, Ondrej Palat is the one to score it. Palat scored the deciding goal at 1:38 p.m. Friday night of the third period, allowing the Lightning to avoid elimination and send the series back to Tampa with a 3-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals . "He keeps doing it," said winger Pat Maroon. He plays right every night. He reaches those dirty areas and is rewarded. He's a star in this league. He's an elite player in this league. The goal was Palat's 11th of the playoffs, seven of them in the third period. That included two game-winning goals against the New York Rangers, a goal without a goal that won the Florida Panthers victory, and his heroics to keep Lightning's Stanley Cup three-peat chances alive in Denver. At the score of 2-2, the Lightning flipped the puck around the avalanche zone. Palat waited for a pass with his stick held high in the slot. Defenseman Victor Hedman passed the puck to him, and Palat's shot caught Colorado goaltender Darcy Kuemper and trickled past him for a 3-2 lead. I'm only trying once and luckily it went in," Palat said. The goal sparked a celebration in the Czech Republic, where Palat's family had organized a Game 5 watch party. So it's nice to have all the support from at home, even if the game is quite late," said Palat. A popular player among his teammates, Palat joined Lightning in 2012-13 after playing for coach Jon Cooper with the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL. "All I can say about Palat is that every year he plays with some of the best players in the world and he's always the third guy that's talked about in that row, but if you the other two players in his row ask, maybe they would talk about him the most," Cooper said. And for that, he's being rewarded for his efforts. And everyone in this room knows how much Palat has contributed to this organization, and I feel like every year in the playoffs same conversation about Ondrej Palat having devastating overtime loss at home in Game 4. The Avalanche had a roaring crowd ready to see the Stanley Cup on the home ice.These fans who had seen how Tampa Bay started the game strong, left the game and forced Colorado to play a comeback. Die for us," said captain Steven Stamkos. "This group did a great job focusing on the present and that was a very difficult place to win here. Just play a solid game and give yourself a chance. We won a game." Cooper said it just didn't feel right to see the series end in five games. "It's just a game," he said. "We can't hang our hats on anything that happened tonight other than the fact that everyone has to go home, everyone has to get back on a plane. But I think if you look at this series, was it meant for six or seven? Damn right, that was it. We look forward to seeing you in two nights.”

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Colorado Avalanche vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Tips, Odds

The Tampa Bay Lightning and the Colorado Avalanche will face off in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals Sunday at the Amalie Arena. (Author: Gardener)

ColoradoTampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche meet in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals at the Amalie Arena on Sunday. According to Tipico Sportsbook, the Avalanche are the favorites in the game with 1.5 goals. Colorado is -115 on the money line and Tampa Bay is -105. The over/under for the game is set at 5.5 goals. More: Stanley Cup Final Picks, Odds: Who Will Win the Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Colorado Avalanche Series? More: Stanley Cup Finals Preview: Things to Know About Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Colorado Avalanche Robert Duff writes, “The Lightning are the 17th team in Stanley Cup Finals history to go 3-1 in the Series forced a sixth game. Only six of those 17 teams (35.3%) were able to win the set for Game 7. Colorado also won in Game 5 of the second round, 3-1, against St. Louis and lost. The Avalanche then went to St. Louis and won 3-2 to close out the series." Kristen Shilton writes, "I still think Colorado is the better team. And the Avalanche haven't lost consecutive games in the playoffs. Tampa Bay has impressive resilience. The Lightning really drop it all every night and Game 5 showed it are nothing but brave. If Colorado can play the full 60 minutes like they did the last 20 of this game and if Kuemper can be his best self, should the Avalanche find a way.Greg Wyshynski writes, "My Preseries prediction was Avalanche in six, and I'm sticking with it. I like it when they win another tightly played game in Tampa and finally win the trophy again," The Page gives Tampa Bay the edge in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals against Colorado on Sunday, stating, “The Lightning are forcing a Game 7 by playing a hard fought game win 6 The Avalanche are great, but so is the Lightning, who have proven themselves a worthy champion by recovering admirably and resiliently throughout the postseason, including in the wild entertainment game on Friday. But make no mistake, the NHL season ends Sunday, or better if you're an Avalanche fan. Colorado won't be interested in a seventh game against the champions, especially considering we haven't yet seen Vasilevskiy's best game of the series. Despite being the No. 3 star in Game 5, his slip on Nichushkin's goal left the door open for Colorado to lift the trophy and end Tampa Bay's bid for a third straight title. But also expect the night to end with Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog lifting the trophy over his head." Gannett may earn revenue from Tipico for viewer recommendations on betting services. Tipico has no control over, and such revenue is in no way affiliated with, the newsrooms or dependent on or related to coverage This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Colorado Avalanche vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Game 6 Picks, Predictions

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Colorado Avalanche meets Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 5 of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals

The Colorado Avalanche will host the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals Friday night at the Ball Arena. A Game 5 win would mean the Avs take home the trophy for the first time in 21 years. Click here for live updates of today's game. (Author: Gardener)

Game 5The Colorado Avalanche will host the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals Friday night at the Ball Arena. A Game 5 win would mean the Avs take home the trophy for the first time in 21 years. Click here for live updates of today's game.

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Tampa Bay avoids elimination, best buddies in the stands and more from Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals

The Lightning extended the Stanley Cup Finals by one more game with a 3-2 win in Game 5. Here are the best pics and sounds from Friday's action. (Author: Gardener)

the Stanley Cup FinalsThe Colorado Avalanche looked to end it in Game 5 against the Tampa Bay Lightning but faced a tough challenge all night. Jan Rutta scored early for the Lightning and forced the Avalanche to catch up. Valeri Nichushkin did just that in the second half, but Nikita Kucherov put the Lightning ahead again with a power-play goal. Despite playing well all night, Andrei Vasilevskiy eluded another equalizer that was credited to Cale Makar. Ondrej Palat put the Lightning ahead for the last time late in the third period, and they withstood a final Avalanche barrage to send the series back to Tampa Bay. It wouldn't be the first time a team has come back from a 3-1 deficit in the Stanley Cup Finals, but it's still an uphill battle for the Lightning. Here's how they kept their championship hopes alive in Game 5. The Stanley Cup will remain in its case for at least a few more days. Colorado had its chances to end the Lightning in Game 5, but after another outstanding performance from Andrei Vasilevskiy and Lightning's advantage in the special teams battle, the series returns to Tampa for Game 6 on Sunday. It wasn't like the Lightning wanted it more than the Avalanche. Colorado overcame two deficits to keep its Stanley Cup-winning hopes alive at home. But the Avalanche didn't seem to fully come to life until the third period, just like it did in Game 4. Colorado should be desperate not to let Tampa Bay fall too far into the series. -- Kristen Shilton We'll have to wait until Sunday to see if the Avalanche will win the Stanley Cup. Ondrej Palat isn't ready to give up just yet as he silenced the Colorado crowd with a go-ahead late in Game 3. A terrible break for the Lightning as one sneaks past Vasilevskiy to level the game 2-2. Cale Makar is the one credited with the goal. Cale Makar couldn't help but look at the sky. Ondrej Palat had just walked over his stick and fallen onto the ice, which was described as Makar's tripping penalty. The teams were already playing 4v4 after JT Compher late saved the stick penalty and Alex Killorn was already called to save. Nikita Kucherov scored on the Lightning power play that followed, which was only Tampa Bay's second goal with the man advantage in the Cup finals. Considering Makar is one of Colorado's best penalty killers, this wasn't an entirely shocking development. It was one of a few no calls that didn't favor Colorado in the second. Pat Maroon was not penalized for throwing Nathan MacKinnon onto the ice, and a Tampa Bay trip was not announced in front of the official. Then there was no delay in the game call when Nick Paul shot the puck out of play on a brief attempt at clearance. The margin for error in the game so far is razor thin for the same strength, so the special teams fight is - and will continue to be - the focus. -- Kristen ShiltonNo-touch icing has its perks, such as: B. Saving players from catastrophic collisions with the endboards. The Flash was burned by the latter in the second period as it looked like Nick Paul was in position to touch the puck, but the linesman whistled icing on the cake. That led to a faceoff at the other end of the ice, which then led to Valeri Nichushkin's decisive goal. But officials take and give. With teams going 4-on-4 after holding penalties, Cale Makar was called out for a rather flimsy trip penalty to build a 4-on-3 power play. It was just the second power play goal for the Lightning in 17 attempts of that streak. The icing on the cake aside, the Lightning have the advantage of acting in Game 5. Which conspiracy theory wins: that the NHL "wants" a Game 6. or that Jon Cooper's protest about missing too many men on the ice penalty at the end of Game 4 affected the Game 5 lead? In any case, the Lightning are 20 minutes away from keeping the Dreipeat alive. -- Greg WyshynskiThe Lightning doesn't want that streak to end tonight when Nikita Kucherov puts Tampa Bay ahead again with a power play goal. A little confusion in front of the Lightning's goal resulted in an Avalanche score, this time from Valeri Nichushkin. Former Denver Broncos teammates and longtime friends Von Miller and Brandon McManus joined the Stanley Cup action at the rink. The Lightning identified the first 10 minutes of Game 5 as absolutely crucial to engaging in your game. Because that's when they get momentum," said coach Jon Cooper. The good news for the Lightning was that unlike their first two games in Denver, they weren't down by several goals at halftime during the opening period. The bad news is they're 40 % of those minutes wasted in the majority game and ended up with nothing to show for as they only managed two shots on goal.The best news: they ended up scoring the first goal at 15:21 of the game's first half when Jan Rutta defeated Darcy Kuemper cleanly. Aside from a good first 10 minutes, the Lightning also talked about how a lead would allow them to win his game and let Colorado chase him a little.--Greg WyshynskiColorado's special teams were great in the first half.Tampa Bay pulled in two penalties in the first 10 minutes, forcing the Avalanche's aggressive penalty to quick replies.Colorado excelled in all series shorthanded hnet, and that continued as the Lightning fell down to 1-17 in that cup final with the extra man. The frame's Avalanche's only powerplay attempt provided some great looks for Andrei Vasilevskiy, but couldn't beat him the Big Cat. While no one drew blood on powerplays, a frame packed with a lot of special teams probably wasn't the start anyone thought for a potential Stanley Cup clinch game wanted to have. A few times, the Avalanche were caught being too cute with the puck, 5v5, and the power play, which is a dangerous play against the opportunistic Lightning. In this series, the first period was often a feel-out process before the back-and-forth really begins. -- Kristen ShiltonA small surprise goal from The Lightning when Jan Rutta smuggled one past Darcy Kuemper's defense. Bring Your Fans Tampa Bay had a very special cheering section for them in a noisy ball arena. The Avalanche went with some stylish neon-lit looks for their Walked into the arena while the Lightning looked bright and upbeat despite being behind. The cup is rested and ready

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