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Tenacious Tampa Stays Alive: 5 Takeaways from the Lightning’s Gritty Sport 5 Protect

0 of 5Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire by Getty PhotosThe NHL season is peaceful now not over.The Tampa Bay Lightning fought off elimination with a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche in Sport 5 of the Stanley Cup Closing at Ball Arena in Denver on Friday.The compelling bewitch by the 2-time defending Cup champs sent the sequence…

Tenacious Tampa Stays Alive: 5 Takeaways from the Lightning’s Gritty Sport 5 Protect

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    Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire by Getty Photos

    The NHL season is peaceful now not over.

    The Tampa Bay Lightning fought off elimination with a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche in Sport 5 of the Stanley Cup Closing at Ball Arena in Denver on Friday.

    The compelling bewitch by the 2-time defending Cup champs sent the sequence support to Amalie Arena in Tampa for Sport 6 on Sunday, with the Avalanche leading the sequence 3-2.

    If Colorado wins, it will be the group’s first Cup since 2001. If Tampa Bay wins, it would power a deciding Sport 7 support in Denver on Tuesday.

    The B/R hockey crew took in all of the action and establish together a list of takeaways from Friday’s sport. Scroll by to glimpse what we came up with and leave a thought or two of your maintain in the comments allotment.

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    Ondrej Palat modified into as soon as a seventh-spherical draft lift in 2011.

    In point of fact, no fewer than 207 avid gamers had been selected sooner than the Lightning called his title.

    Nonetheless now not too many of them respect had the affect he’s had, particularly when it matters most.

    The game-winning aim scored by the 31-twelve months-former winger Friday evening modified into as soon as the 11th of his playoff profession with Tampa and region up what in total is an especially compelling swan song to his time with the 2-time defending champions.

    Palat will be an unrestricted free agent July 13, and the Lightning are already honest up against the wage cap for 2022-23, which design that is more doubtless to be his closing whisk with the crew.

    The Sport 5 winner came with 6: 22 left in the third length and broke a 2-2 tie when Palat snapped a centering slide from Victor Hedman by Colorado goalie Darcy Kuemper.

    It modified into as soon as his 11th aim of the playoffs and his 48th in 137 postseason video games.

    “I assumed we played a honest sport. A noteworthy aspect motorway sport,” he suggested ESPN’s Emily Kaplan after the bewitch. “It modified into as soon as a noteworthy play. [Hedman] stumbled on me, I had an start earn and I modified into as soon as lucky ample it went in.”

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    AP Portray/David Zalubowski

    There’s a neutral these Lightning respect won the Stanley Cup.

    Twice.

    The 2-time defending champs had their championship grit, coronary heart and resolution on corpulent show all over Sport 5, honest as they’ve all over this twelve months’s whisk particularly.

    Tampa Bay by no design faced one thing else beyond a 1-0 deficit whereas winning eight straight sequence in the 2019-20 and 2020-21 playoffs, and it only played one elimination sport—Sport 7 against the Novel York Islanders in final twelve months’s Jap Convention Closing—in going 32-14 total.

    The Lightning respect been great much less dominant this twelve months, then again, going on 3-2 to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the fundamental spherical sooner than winning two straight and trailing the Novel York Rangers 0-2 in the convention closing sooner than rattling off four straight wins.

    Within the event that they glide on to bewitch the Cup, it will be the most elimination video games won by a champion for the reason that 2013-14 Los Angeles Kings won six, together with a rally from being down 0-3 against the San Jose Sharks in the fundamental spherical.

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    Despite the 3-1 sequence deficit, the Lightning arrived at Sport 5 having outscored Colorado 10-9 at even energy by four video games.

    Where the largest problems came had been on special teams.

    The Avalanche had outscored Tampa Bay 6-1 in energy-play scenarios, nevertheless issues weren’t quite so one-sided Friday.

    The Lightning scored one energy-play aim in four possibilities and honest as importantly kept Colorado off the scoresheet one day of its two alternatives with a particular person advantage.

    Nikita Kucherov scored with assists from Steven Stamkos and Corey Perry one day of Tampa Bay’s four-on-three energy play at 8: 10 of the 2d length, and the Lightning killed off a excessive-sticking penalty called on Ross Colton eight minutes later after also killing a tripping call against Stamkos in the fundamental length.

    Kucherov’s aim modified into as soon as his eighth of the playoffs and sixth on the energy play nevertheless also his first for the reason that Jap Convention Closing against the Rangers.

    The Avalanche are peaceful 6-of-15 (40 percent) on the energy play in the sequence, whereas Tampa Bay improved to 2-of-18 (11.1 percent).

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    AP Portray/Jack Dempsey

    As a entire, Kuemper has played effectively on this sequence.

    He is made 116 saves on 129 photography all over 5 video games, registered a shutout in Sport 2 and modified into as soon as particularly regular in the face of a 17-shot barrage one day of the fundamental length of the Sport 4 victory that gave the Avalanche a commanding 3-1 sequence lead.

    And he looked absorbing early Friday, particularly with the glove hand.

    Nonetheless there respect been moments where issues haven’t looked so honest.

    Two of Tampa Bay’s three targets in Sport 5 came on photography that Kuemper obtained a share of nevertheless might per chance per chance now not cease. Lightning defenseman Jan Rutta beat him with a slap shot from the honest-aspect boards that trickled by in the fundamental length, and Palat’s sport-winner in the third hit him sooner than sneaking by his pads all around the aim line.

    B/R Open Ice @BR_OpenIce

    Bolts fetch on the board first 👀🚨 pic.twitter.com/yz6lltksmX

    “He modified into as soon as OK,” coach Jared Bednar acknowledged after the sport. “Would like to glimpse him fetch the fundamental one. Otherwise, I assumed he battled exhausting.”

    This came four days after he modified into as soon as pulled in Sport 3 after allowing 5 targets on 22 photography in Tampa Bay’s 6-2 bewitch. And now that the Lightning respect sent the sequence support to Tampa Bay for Sport 6, the stress on the 32-twelve months-former will only amplify.

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    AP Portray/David Zalubowski

    Any stage of self belief maintained by Tampa Bay followers heading into Sport 5 doubtless centered around one participant: goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy.

    And now that we’re heading to Sport 6, it be now not more doubtless to commerce.

    The 27-twelve months-former picked his 63rd profession playoff victory in his 98th initiate with a 35-establish efficiency that after extra solidified his web site as the league’s finest money goalie.

    He’d created the inspiration for that claim all around the Lightning’s initial two Cup runs, together with shutouts in 5 straight sequence-ending video games. Nonetheless he’s added layers as the crew has taken the prolonged design to this twelve months’s closing, together with rallies from 3-2 down against Toronto and 2-0 down against the Novel York Rangers.

    Vasilevskiy allowed honest 5 targets in the closing four video games against the Rangers and 4 in the final two against the Maple Leafs.

    And he’s been stellar again since an embarrassing 7-0 loss in Sport 2 against Colorado, stopping 106 of 113 photography (.938 establish proportion) in the three subsequent video games.

    In point of fact, in four elimination video games since 2020, he’s 4-0 with a 1.75 targets-against reasonable and a .945 establish proportion.

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