Game 1 Lives Up to Hype
The first game of an anticipated matchup in the Stanley Cup Final did not disappoint.
The favored Colorado Avalanche controlled much of the play but saw a two-goal lead disappear when Tampa Bay scored twice in 48 seconds in the second period. Andre Burakovsky, one of four Colorado players with previous Stanley Cup experience, won it early in overtime.
— NHL (@NHL) June 16, 2022
While both teams have players who have been together for a while, two of the six goals scored in regulation came from forwards acquired at the trade deadline. Nick Paul scored Tampa Bay’s first goal and that was followed by a power-play goal for Colorado by Artturi Lehkonen.
Both the Lightning and Avalanche have five one-goal wins in the postseason, with Tampa Bay going 5-3 and Colorado 5-1 in such contests.
The game was played mostly at even strength as each team had three power-play opportunities. This will be the only time during the Stanley Cup Final with more than one day between games as Game 2 is set for Saturday night.
According to the NHL betting lines, the series price for the favored Avalanche moved from -175 to -270 while Tampa Bay’s odds fell from +155 to +230.
Point Returns for Lightning
While the Tampa Bay Lightning weren’t able to steal Game 1, it wasn’t a total loss.
Brayden Point, who was Tampa Bay’s leader with 14 goals during both the 2020 and 2021 Stanley Cup runs, returned for the first time since being injured in Game 7 of the opening series against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Point didn’t have a shot on goal but did record an assist and was fourth among Tampa Bay forwards in time on ice. He also returned to his duties on the power play. Point’s return provides even more depth throughout the lineup for the Lightning. Point also was 5 of 9 on faceoffs as the Lightning were +12 in that department. That was pretty much the only statistical category where Tampa Bay had the edge in the series opener.
Point’s return will give the Lightning a better chance of winning this series. With Point back, 15 of the 18 skaters for Tampa Bay in Game 1 have been part of NHL championship teams compared to just one for the Avalanche. It should be noted that when playing back-to-back games on the road in this season’s playoffs, Tampa Bay was 1-2 in the first three series and outscored 12-6. In the second game, they were 2-1 and outscored their opponents 9-7.
Something to consider for those who bet online: The total has gone under in five of Tampa Bay’s last six games overall and in five of the Lightning’s last seven road games.
Avalanche Fine with Working Overtime
For as dominant as the Colorado Avalanche have been, it might be a surprise to some to realize that they are now 4-1 in overtime games in this season’s playoffs. This is the second straight overtime game for Colorado. Artturi Lehkonen scored 1:19 into overtime to finish off a sweep of the Edmonton Oilers. It took Burakovsky 1:23 in the extra session to take a pass from Valeri Nichushkin and beat Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy on Wednesday night.
This was not the first time that Burakovsky delivered in the postseason against Tampa Bay. While playing for the Washington Capitals, he scored twice in a 4-0 win in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals. Washington would need just five games to eliminate the Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Burakovsky and Darren Helm are the only Colorado players with Stanley Cup titles. However, they finished 11th and 14th among the Avalanche skaters in time on ice. Helm was one of five Colorado players with at least four shots on goal.
The Las Vegas odds total hasve gone over in six of Colorado’s last nine games.
Lightning vs Avalanche Head-to-Head
Colorado and Tampa Bay have played one-goal games in each of the three matchups this season. Colorado swept the season series, winning 4-3 in a shootout on the road on Oct. 23 and taking the rematch at home by a 3-2 score. Gabriel Landeskog scored for Colorado in both games while Point had goals in each game for the Lightning.
Six of the last eight games between the teams have been decided by one goal. Five of the last six games featured at least seven goals scored, with each of those five contests finishing over the total.
Tampa Bay has won four of its last six road games against Colorado. The visiting team has won six of the last eight matchups between the teams.
Lightning vs Avalanche Game Information
- Game: Lightning (51-23-8 regular season); Avalanche (56-19-7)
- Location: Ball Arena, Denver, CO
- Day/Time: Saturday, 8 p.m. ET
- Lightning vs Avalanche Streaming: NHL.TV
Lightning vs Avalanche Betting Lines
Lightning vs Avalanche Prediction
Tampa Bay had a chance to capitalize on the fact that Colorado hadn’t played in more than a week. Shots on goal were 4-4 in the early going. However, the Avalanche had the next four shots and scored on two of them to take command of the game.
One major question was answered when goaltender Darcy Kuemper, who hadn’t played since Game 1 of the Edmonton series, was considered healthy enough to resume his role as Colorado’s No. 1 goalie. He wasn’t particularly impressive as he allowed three goals on 24 shots.
Neither Nazem Kadri nor Andrew Cogliano suited up for Game 1. There is hope that one or two of them could be back for the Avalanche at some point in the series. Cogliano is one of four Colorado Avalanche players with previous Stanley Cup Finals experience while Kadri was third on Colorado with 87 points during the regular season.
Even though there were seven goals in Game 1, the sportsbook once again lists the total at six goals in Game 2. A total of 16 goals have been scored in the second game of Tampa Bay’s first three series while 12 goals were scored in the three Game 2s played by Colorado, which is a reason for a lower than anticipated total.
After winning Game 1, the best odds for the series are now showing Colorado at +275 to win the series in five games.