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Stanley Cup final: Lightning-Avalanche Game 3 live updates

Tampa Bay scores four times in the second period and trims its series deficit to a single game.
Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) and goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) congratulate each other after winning Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Colorado Avalanche on Monday, June 20, 2022 in Tampa.
Published Jun. 20|Updated Jun. 21

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The Lightning scored four times in the second period and went on to beat the Avalanche 6-2 in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final Monday at Amalie Arena.

Tampa Bay trails the best-of-seven series two games to one heading into Game 4 Wednesday in Tampa.

Nick Paul, Steven Stamkos, Pat Maroon and Corey Perry scored in the second period as the Lightning turned a 2-1 advantage into a 6-2 cushion.

Anthony Cirelli and Ondrej Palat scored less than two minutes apart in the first period to give Tampa Bay a 2-1 lead, its first of the game and the series.

Little more than three minutes after Paul scored 1:26 into the second to extend the Lightning’s lead to 3-1, Gabriel Landeskog’s second goal of the game brought Colorado back to within a goal.

The Avalanche had an apparent Valeri Nichushkin goal overturned five minutes into the game after a Tampa Bay challenge and off-ice officials ruled that the play was offside.

Three nights after allowing seven goals in a Game 2 blowout, Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 37 of 39 shots on goal.

Center Brayden Point, who missed 10 games with a lower-body injury before returning for the first two games of the Cup final, was scratched. Forward Riley Nash took his place in the lineup. Forward Andre Burakovsky did not play for the Avalanche.

Here’s how it happened:

Third period

Lightning left wing Ondrej Palat (18), right, and defenseman Mikhail Sergachev (98) celebrate Palat’s first-period goal.
Lightning left wing Ondrej Palat (18), right, and defenseman Mikhail Sergachev (98) celebrate Palat’s first-period goal. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]

Ross Colton one-timer from the right circle deflected up over the net

Cale Makar shot blocked by Pierre-Edouard Bellemare

J.T. Compher wrist shot from the slot saved by Andrei Vasilevskiy

Mikko Rantanen wrist shot saved by Vasilevskiy

Erik Johnson shot blocked by Bellemare

Valeri Nichushkin shot blocked by Victor Hedman

Artturi Lehkonen wrist shot saved by Vasilevskiy

Bowen Byram shot from left circle blocked by Corey Perry

Francouz makes a glove save on Zach Bogosian shot from right point

Andrew Cogliano penalized

Victor Hedman shot from the point blocked in front

Hedman shot knocked down by Francouz

Corey Perry snap shot saved by Francouz

Hedman shot blocked by Nico Sturm

Devon Toews penalized for cross-checking Nikita Kucherov, giving Lightning a 5-on-3 advantage for 26 seconds

Kucherov shot deflects off Francouz and out of play

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Kucherov skates to the bench in obvious pain

Cogliano returns to the ice, so it’s a 5-on-4 power play now

Corey Perry serves too man men penalty, and we’re back to 4 on 4

Patrick O’Connor and Ross Colton fight after Pat Maroon seemed to want to go with Andrew Cogliano

Lightning wind up with a power play

Hedman hits the post with a shot from the center point

(Lightning win 6-2, trail series 2-1)

Second period

Lightning center Anthony Cirelli (71) beats Colorado Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper (35), while Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews (7), left, joins the play during the first period.
Lightning center Anthony Cirelli (71) beats Colorado Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper (35), while Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews (7), left, joins the play during the first period. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]

Nikita Kucherov wraparound attempt blocked by Darcy Kuemper’s stick

Nick Paul has returned to the ice after leaving in the first period

LIGHTNING GOAL! Nick Paul beats Kuemper under the arm from the slot after Josh Manson’s pass around the boards was intercepted by Ross Colton. Lightning 3, Avalanche 1 (1:26)

Andrei Vasileveskiy stretches to his right to rob J.T. Compher from the left circle for the second time

Ross Colton penalized for hooking Artturi Lehkonen (15:57 left)

AVALANCHE GOAL: Gabriel Landeskog beats Vasilevskiy high on the blocker side from the left circle. Lightning 3, Avalanche 2 (4:43)

LIGHTNING GOAL! Stamkos scores from the slot after Nikita Kucherov beats Erik Johnson in one-on-one battle in the left corner, shields the puck and passes backhand to Stamkos. Lightning 4, Avalanche 2

Josh Manson and Pat Maroon receive matching roughing penalties, so we’ll have 4 on 4 for two minutes

Cale Makar shot from the center point deflected wide

Bowen Byram backhander from right circle saved by Vasilevskiy

LIGHTNING GOAL! Pat Maroon joins the party. Lightning 5, Avalanche 2

Pavel Francouz replaces Darcy Kuemper in net. Kuemper allowed five goals on 21 shots

Nico Sturm penalized for delay of game

LIGHTNING GOAL! Corey Perry scores on the power play, pushing an Ondrej Palat shot that went off the post over the goal line. Lightning 6, Avalanche 2

Alex Killorn penalized for slashing

Andrew Cogliano and Mikhail Sergachev receive matching roughing penalties that will carry into the third period

(Lightning lead 6-2 after two periods)

First period

Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) skates during pregame warmups.
Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) skates during pregame warmups. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]

Nikita Kucherov shot saved by Darcy Kuemper

Kuemper makes right pad save on Ross Colton shot from low in right circle

Kuemper also stops Nick Paul rebound attempt from the slot

Pat Maroon tips shot up over the net

Riley Nash shot blocked by Erik Johnson

Josh Manson shot blocked by Victor Hedman

Andrei Vasilevskiy moves left to right to rob J.T. Compher with a skate save (just under 16 minutes left in period)

AVALANCHE GOAL: Valeri Nachushkin chips floater over Ryan McDonagh and beats Vasilevskiy over blocker. Avalanche 1, Lightning 0 (15:00 left)

NO GOAL: Lightning challenge that the play was offside, and goal is overturned after replay review

J.T. Compher penalized for interference against Steven Stamkos (14:10 left)

Stamkos one-timer from left circle stopped by Kuemper

Ondrej Palat penalized for high-sticking Erik Johnson, and that will end the Lightning power play. We’ll have 40 seconds of 4-on-4 play before the Avalanche go on the power play

AVALANCHE GOAL: Gabriel Landeskog jams the puck into the net from the crease after being hit from behind by Erik Cernak on rebound of Mikko Rantanen shot from right circle. Avalanche 1, Lightning 0 (8:19)

Hedman shot wide of the net

Alex Newhook penalized for holding Pierre-Edouard Bellemare’s stick along the boards

Nikita Kucherov sharp-angle shot saved by Kuemper

Corey Perry shot saved by Kuemper

Kucherov wrist shot from point blocked by Kuemper

Avalanche kill the penalty

LIGHTNING GOAL! Anthony Cirelli goes end-to-end and scores on a ricochet after a give-and-go with Pat Maroon. Lightning 1, Avalanche 1 (13:03)

Cale Makar wrist shot saved by Vasilevskiy

LIGHTNING GOAL! Ondrej Palat scores on a 2-on-2 after Steven Stamkos pass from the right circle into the slot. Lightning 2, Avalanche 1 (14:54)

Nick Paul leaves for the dressing room after Josh Manson shoves him hard into the boards

Compher shot through screen from right circle saved by Vasilevskiy

(Lightning lead 2-1 after one period)

Pregame scouting report

Colorado Avalanche center Darren Helm (43), left, collides with Lightning left wing Alex Killorn (17) during the third period of Game 2.
Colorado Avalanche center Darren Helm (43), left, collides with Lightning left wing Alex Killorn (17) during the third period of Game 2. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]

The Lightning seem to understand the problem.

“It’s certainly the fastest team that we played,” captain Steven Stamkos said of the Avalanche after the Bolts’ 7-0 loss Saturday in Game 2. “We’ve got to find a way to slow them down.”

But how?

Related: How did this happen? Lightning seem to be wondering that, too

Colorado has jumped on Tampa Bay from the start in the first two games of the Stanley Cup final, using its forecheck to build 3-1 and 3-0 first-period leads. That’s a big part of the problem.

The Lightning are 6-1 this postseason when they score the first goal and 6-6 when they don’t. The early deficits in Colorado forced Tampa Bay to chase the games and take more chances, which played right into the Avs’ hands.

Related: If it makes you feel better, Jeff Vinik’s hands are shaking as much as yours

The Avalanche have been the quicker team in all three zones, both with and without the puck. They have been aggressive in the neutral zone, breaking up plays, stealing pucks and making quick passes to create odd-man breaks and high-quality scoring chances.

Stamkos suggested putting pucks into areas where Tampa Bay can neutralize Colorado’s speed and avoiding turnovers, which fuel the Avs’ transition game.

Related: Let’s hope faith is more abundant than the Lightning offense right now

It’s worked in the past. If the Lightning can get pucks behind the Avalanche defense and win them back in the corners, they can start their cycle game, get bodies and shots to the net, get into goaltender Darcy Kuemper’s sight lines and work to create rebound opportunities.

Furthermore, by maintaining possession in the Colorado zone, Tampa Bay can force the Avalanche’s top offensive players to defend in their own zone and limit their opportunities to play on offense.

Defensively, the Lightning need to slow the Avalanche breakouts with better positioning, take away the middle of the ice by forcing them to the outside, create turnovers and counterattack.

Related: Lightning-Avalanche Game 2 report card: Outpaced, outplayed

Forward Nick Paul said after a 4-3 loss in Game 1 that slowing Colorado means getting bodies on them, whether it’s a hard hit or even just a nudge, and staying above them on the ice.

Having the next two games at home should help, too, with the last change allowing head coach Jon Cooper to set matchups on the ice. We’ve seen previously this postseason what the Brayden Point (against Toronto) and Anthony Cirelli lines (against Florida and New York) can do when tasked with stopping an opponent’s top trio.

Will it work? It did for the Blues, the only team to take games (two) from the Avalanche so far this postseason.

If it doesn’t, it’s going to be a short series.

Game night scene

• • •

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