Andre Burakovsky buries one-timer in OT, Avs beat Lightning 4-3 to take series lead

DENVER — Overtime decided the first battle of the storms, and the snow came out on top.

André Burakovsky destroyed a one-timer from Valeri Nichushkin that sailed by the outstretched glove of Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevsky, and the Avalanche stung the reigning champions 4-3 to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

“I mean, it feels amazing,” Burakovsky said after the game to ESPN’s Emily Kaplan. “I think we really battled through this whole game. We had a mental breakdown in the second period but bounced back in the third. Awesome job by the boys!”

Colorado came into the series with the two-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning 12-2 in this year’s postseason, with sweeps over Nashville in the first round and Edmonton in the Western Conference Finals.

The goal halted what had been an impressive comeback attempt from the Lightning, as they battled back from deficits of 2-0 and 3-1 to tie the contest in the second period, forcing the eventual overtime.

Nichushkin, Gabriel Landeksog (who scored the first goal of the game) and Mikko Rantanen all recorded two points on the evening, Artturi Lehkonen notched his seventh goal of the playoffs and Darcy Kuemper recorded his first win behind the pipes after missing most of the Western Conference Finals due to an upper-body injury. The Avalanche goaltender looked shaky early on, giving two questionable goals, but rebounded to make 20 saves in the winning effort.

Landeskog scored in the first period off a juicy rebound. Said the Avs captain: “The shot was able to squeeze through past Vasilevsky, and…I almost missed it.

“Obviously, [it’s] a good feeling [to score the first goal of the Finals].

He subsequently went into detail regarding his nerves entering his first Cup Final.

“I hope I’m not alone, but I was pretty nervous all day and coming off of warmups, the fans were amazing. You’re trying to enjoy the moment as much as you can, but you’re human, and the nerves are there. I think that’s okay; you just gotta deal with it, and I thought as a team we did a good job with that tonight.”

The Lightning, looking to become the first three-peat Stanley Cup Champion in 40 years, received goals from Nick Paul, Ondrej Palet, and Mikhail Sergachev. While Vasilevsky stopped 34 of 38 shots, he allowed three goals in the opening period, the first time he has ever done so in his postseason career. Game 2 is set to take place in Denver tomorrow night.


Landeskog beats Vasilevsky

Nichushkin fires a wrister by Vasilevsky, who gave up his first five-hole goal of the playoffs.

Nick Paul puts Tampa Bay on the board.

The Avs entered Game 1 14 for 45 (31.1 percent) on the powerplay. Then came a massive opportunity. Lightning forward, Mikhail Sergachev and TB center Anthony Cirelli were both nailed for tripping, giving the Avs a 5-on-3 powerplay. Artturi Lehkonen subsequently lit the lamp, deflecting a shot from Rantanen.

Nikita Kucherov makes an incredible pass to Ondrej Palat, who knocked the puck by a stretched Kuemper to make it a 3-2 game.

48 seconds later, Mikhail Sergachev ties up the game at 3.

Ryan O'Hara

Award-winning sportswriter from Denver, Colorado.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Three Takeaways From Florida Panthers Shutout Victory

“At the end of the day, we’re here for wins. That’s it.” Matthew Tkachuk means business. Even after a dominant display during game one, he knows the Panthers have a long way to go. But it is hard not to laud the performance just put forth. Paul Maurice’s men came into Wednesday playing their first […]

Read More

Jake Debrusk on the Move to Edmonton?

Jake Debrusk’s future with the Boston Bruins is uncertain following their elimination from the Stanley Cup Playoffs by the Florida Panthers in Round 2 last week. The left-winger has been with the Bruins for 7 seasons and was a standout player, leading the team with 5 goals and 6 assists (11 points) in this year’s […]

Read More
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Opinion: Why Winning The Cup Is a Reality for the Blueshirts

The New York Rangers have been in this position before. The team won the Presidents’ Trophy, the Metropolitan Division (in previous years it was the Atlantic Division and Patrick Division), and a few playoff rounds. It ended in heartbreak in 1992 when the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Rangers in six in the second round and […]

Read More