By ARNIE STAPLETON, AP Sports activities Author
DENVER (AP) — What emerged from the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday evening wasn’t their championship pedigree or vaunted potential to bounce again however frayed nerves and perhaps a realization that the Colorado Avalanche are coming swiftly for his or her crown.
Outmuscled. Outhustled. Out-tussled.
Andrei Vasilevskiy and the two-time reigning Stanley Cup champions had been thumped 7-0 by the Avalanche, shedding not solely the sport however their cool and their mojo within the course of.
This marked simply the second time in Vasilevskiy’s 465-game NHL profession that he allowed that many targets in a recreation.
Captain Steven Stamkos was hollering and angling for a battle with the Lightning down 3-0 within the first interval. Corey Perry went to the penalty field on the finish of the second with Tampa Bay trailing 5-0 after getting right into a quarrel within the Colorado crease with J.T. Compher.
The groups bought right into a scrum with 4:22 left within the third interval and the end result lengthy determined.
The Lightning had shrugged off their 4-3 additional time loss to the Avalanche in Sport 1, insisting they’d bounce again behind their nice goaltender now that they’d gotten a first-hand have a look at all that velocity and ability the Avalanche throw at groups.
They had been equally assured they’d deciphered Darcy Kuemper after erasing a pair of two-goal deficits within the opener earlier than shedding in additional time.
As a substitute, the Lightning grew to become simply the third group ever to permit three or extra first-period targets within the first two video games of a Stanley Cup Closing, becoming a member of the Minnesota North Stars in 1981 in opposition to the Islanders and the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1936 in opposition to the Detroit Pink Wings.
The Avalanche stored each their lead and their heads all evening and now they’re midway to snaring Lord Stanley’s Cup from the two-time reigning champs because the sequence shifts to Tampa Bay for Sport 3 Monday evening.
The Lightning’s confidence in profitable Sport 2 and gaining management of the sequence was well-founded. They had been the NHL’s finest bounce-back group whereas profitable back-to-back titles and reaching a 3rd consecutive Stanley Cup, going 18-1 after a playoff loss for the reason that begin of the primary spherical in 2020. Vasilevskiy was in internet for all of these video games.
Colorado defenseman Cale Makar’s short-handed aim early within the third interval made it 6-0 and he poured salt within the gaping wound with a power-play aim because the Avalanche improved their league-best dwelling document to 58-8-5 of their final 71 video games at Ball Enviornment, together with playoffs.
They’ve gone 7-2 at dwelling this yr and 7-0 on the street within the playoffs.
The Lightning have but to beat the Avalanche this season, having misplaced twice within the common season in Denver, as soon as in additional time and one other time in a shootout.
If they do not repair their myriad points rapidly, they will not get the prospect to return to Denver after Video games 3 and 4 in Tampa.
Observe Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter at https://twitter.com/arniestapleton
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