AVALANCHE

Colorado Crushed: Bolts take Game 3, Avs look for answers

Jun 20, 2022, 9:13 PM | Updated: 9:43 pm
Steven Stamkos...
Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

It was never going to be *that* easy for the Colorado Avalanche, or did they trick you into thinking it would be?

Taking on the two-time reigning champs, it’s not that easy; the Tampa Bay Lightning finally got on the board in Monday’s Game 3, winning 6-2. The Bolts’ dominant showing came two nights after a 7-0 blowout win by Colorado. But with things turning to Tampa, the Lightning found their footing, even running Avs starting goalie Darcy Kuemper from the game.

“He didn’t have a good night and neither did our team,” Jared Bednar said of Kuemper.

Gabriel Landeskog actually scored the game’s first goal, but the Bolts responded with two later in the period to get their first lead of the series.

Landeskog was the Avs’ lone goal scorer, netting two on the power play.

The difference between the blowouts were a goalie pull, the non-clean sheet, and letting off the gas. Colorado never let off the gas in Game 2, unlike Tampa, who sat back for the entire final frame of their beat ’em down.

“This was pretty much a must-win game for us,” Bolts leader Steven Stamkos said.

In less than 48 hours, Colorado will have to figure out who their starting goalie is, how healthy Andre Burakovsky is—he was injured in Game 2 and was scratched from Game 3—and if Nazem Kadri can go. Kadri is recovering from hand surgery and traveled with the team to Florida. If he’s on the trip, there has to be hope that maybe the All-Star can suit up. Of course, Colorado’s big question is response which has been good most of the year after losses and great this postseason. But the Avs haven’t been beaten like this in a long time.

It was Colorado’s third loss of the postseason and the second by multiple goals. The Avs only lost by four or more goals twice in the regular season and hadn’t done it since a defeat to the Bruins in late February.

“He’s been great all year. We’re not gonna get down on him at all,” Nathan MacKinnon said of Kuemper.

Game 4 is slated for Wednesday night. The loss guarantees another Colorado home night, Game 5 on Friday.

“They didn’t hang their head after losing Game 2, and we’re not going to tonight,” MacKinnon said. “Good or bad, we’re not going to trade our spot with anyone in the world. We feel good about our team.”

“This is the Stanley Cup Final, we were not expecting a sweep,” MacKinnon said.

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