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Colorado Avalanche left winger Andre Burakovsky capitalized on a turnover in the neutral zone early in overtime and got a shot past Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy to win Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final 4-3 on Wednesday night.
It was his second goal of the postseason and gave Colorado a 1-0 lead in the series.
Colorado and Tampa Bay treated fans at the Ball Arena in Denver to a riveting first game of the series.
The Avalanche jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the first period, starting with a goal from Gabriel Landeskog and less than two minutes later Valeri Nichushkin got another one on the board. It appeared Colorado had caught Vasilevskiy off guard to start the game.
Lightning winger Nick Paul would cut the lead in half at the 12:26 mark with his fourth goal of the postseason. His score came on assists from Victor Hedman and Brayden Point. But it wouldn’t be long before Colorado got one back. It would be Artturi Lehkonen’s doing, and it gave the Avalanche a 3-1 lead heading into the intermission.
Tampa Bay would come back in a big way in the second period.
Ondrej Palat scored his ninth goal of the postseason at the 12:51 mark and Mikhail Sergachev would put the equalizer past Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper to tie the game.
Both teams would go scoreless in the third period leading to Burakovsky’s game-winner in the extra session on a missed shot from J.T. Compher and a pass from Valeri Nichushkin.
The last time the Avalanche were in the Stanley Cup Final was in 2001 and they defeated the New Jersey Devils in Game 1 as well. It will be a bit of a tougher challenge because the Lightning are coming into the series as the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions.
Tampa Bay lost their first two games of the Eastern Conference Final on the road before bouncing back to win.
Game 2 is set for Saturday at 8 p.m. ET.