Best sights and sounds from Game 6 between the Colorado Avalanche and the Tampa Bay Lightning


Best sights and sounds from Game 6 between the Colorado Avalanche and the Tampa Bay Lightning

The two-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning staved off an elimination against the Colorado Avalanche in Game 5, largely due to late-game heroics by Ondrej Palat.

Now the series is back on the Bolts’ home ice at the Amalie Arena.

Although Colorado suffered its second loss in a potential series-winning game this postseason, both at home in Game 5, Colorado retains control of the series with a 3-2 lead.

History is on the Avalanche’s side as teams that went 3-1 up in a best-of-seven Stanley Cup final are 35-1 all-time.

On the other side of the ice, Tampa Bay is playing with its back against the wall. The team is 4-0 in potential eliminators in the last three postseasons, including 3-0 in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Lightning still have a bit of a steep hill to climb as they seek to join the 1942 Maple Leafs as the only team to close a 3-1 series deficit in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Here are the best sights and sounds from Sunday night at the potential Game 6 series winner.

Oh my, Lehky

good stick? Good stick. Artturi Lehkonen gives the Avs their first lead of Game 6 with a bouncing puck.

We have a tie

And just like that, we’re all tied in Game 6 after Nathan MacKinnon found the net for the Avs less than two minutes into the second period. MacKinnon’s 13 goals this postseason are the second-highest in Avalanche playoff history.

One period less for the Lightning

It’s amazing how the Tampa Bay Lightning turned their fortunes early in the games. The first two in Denver were a chamber of horrors: misses, bad penalties and multiple goals in those two losses. The Lightning vowed that if their starts were better, they would trust their “recipe” to defeat the Avalanche. Since then they have been right.

Game 6 is the third straight game the Lightning have scored the first goal and the fourth straight game they’ve led after the first half. It was the Avalanche who took a wicked penalty just 23 seconds into the game. It was the Avalanche who saw the Lightning carry game for the first 10 minutes and then had to watch the game.

The lead was something Colorado coach Jared Bednar was hoping for before Game 6.

“It would be nice to get a lead. We’ve obviously had success in this series when we’ve jumped out to a nice lead. For them I think that just gives them the confidence with their goalkeeper, their defensive structure to be in to be able to block things a little bit more without having to press to score,” he said. “The lead is big and I think the start of today’s game will be really important.”

That it was… except in favor of the flash. The question is will they regret not doubling that lead given how active they were offensively in the first 10 minutes. – Greg Wyshynski

… and the avalanche

What was Cale Makar thinking?

The reigning Norris Trophy winner took an interference penalty after 23 seconds in Game 6, just as Colorado came out with good pressure on offense to start the night.

The generally composed defender looked embarrassed as he headed for the penalty area, and perhaps rightly so. Giving momentum to Tampa Bay in his building that faces destruction was the complete opposite of what Makar would hope. Although the Lightning didn’t score on the power play, they still put the stars of the Avalanche on the bench and Tampa Bay on offense.

And shortly after the teams were level again, Steven Stamkos scored the game’s opening marker. Again, you don’t want to get the flash rolling.

Then later in the period, when Colorado was trying to keep an exhausted group of Lightning in their own zone, Makar fiddled with the puck so much that the Avalanche were edged out. Another uncharacteristic game.

Those little moments add up so late in a series. Ever since Andrei Vasilevskiy settled into Game 3, scoring points has been paramount for Colorado. A freebie of any kind is catnip for Tampa Bay and will not bring the Avalanche out of Florida with the Stanley Cup in tow. – Kristen Shilton

Lightning Strike First

Tampa Bay wasted no time in finding the back of the net on his home ice. The Lightning were first on the board for the third year in a row thanks to Captain Steven Stamkos.

Bold step

Never let anyone tell you this Avalanche fan isn’t dedicated. Going into an arena and rocking the opposing team’s jersey? A bit risky. Wrapped in a cloak made out of the opposing team’s championship banner? Almost bold.

Back to Tampa Bay

The Lightning have a tall order ahead of them, but if this hyped video β€” and their perfect record in eliminators over the past three postseasons β€” is any indication, they’re up for the challenge.

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