The Lightning refuse to go away, scoring once in each period to hold on and beat the Avalanche 3-2. With Colorado now up 3-2 in the Stanley Cup Final, the Avalanche will have a second chance to win it all Sunday night in Tampa Bay.
Tampa Bay opened the scoring when defenseman Jan Rutta scored his first goal of the postseason in the first period. In the second period, both teams traded goals as Valeri Nichushkin buried his fourth of the series and ninth of the playoffs for the Avalanche five minutes in, followed by Nikita Kucherov’s 4-on-3 goal to retake the lead.
Down one entering the final period, Colorado wasted no time scoring. Norris Trophy winner Cale Maker shot one off Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak and past Andrei Vasilevsky, once again tying the game. However, the Lightning regained the lead for good as Ondrej Palat notched his third playoff goal with just over six minutes remaining.
By staving off elimination, Tampa Bay earned one last home game on Sunday. The Lightning have faced elimination three times this postseason, winning all three times, but would need to do that twice more to win another Stanley Cup.
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The Lightning are looking to win their 12th straight playoff series and third straight Stanley Cup, both of which would be the most since the Islanders won 19 straight series and four consecutive titles from 1980 to 1984.
Meanwhile, the Avalanche lost only their fourth game of the playoffs, two against St. Louis and now two to Tampa Bay. They will play only their second Game 6 and haven’t faced elimination yet in the postseason.
If Tampa Bay can win one more game on Sunday night at 8 p.m. ET, there would be a Game 7 Tuesday night in Colorado.
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