2022 Stanley Cup Final – Best moments, scenes and breakdown of Tampa Bay Lightning-Colorado Avalanche Game 5

The Stanley Cup is in the building. The Colorado Avalanche lead the best-of-seven series with the Tampa Bay Lightning, 3-1. The Avs could close out the series and keep the Cup in the building in Friday’s Game 5.

Game 4, which ended in a 3-2 Colorado overtime win, did not come without controversy. Video replay appeared to show that Colorado had too many men on the ice when Nazem Kadri scored the game-winner. It looked like Kadri had made an improper line change seconds before Nathan MacKinnon made it back to the bench.

The call was not made. The official NHL response said the penalty is a judgment call and the goal stood.

Now, the two-time defending champ Lightning are on the ropes and the Avalanche are on the verge of winning their first Cup since 2001. Colorado coach Jared Bednar wants his team to feed off the nerves and emotions.

“You always hear about controlled emotion. I’m kind of the opposite with our team,” Bednar said on Friday. “Besides running around and getting out of our game plan, I want us to use our energy and nervous energy and emotion to go play the game with passion, play hard and stay on our toes and getting after it.”

tampa strikes back

The Lightning do not want this series to end tonight, with Nikita Kucherov giving Tampa Bay the lead again with a power-play goal.

All tied up

A little confusion in front of the Lightning’s goal led to an Avalanche score, this time by Valeri Nichushkin.

Friends watch hockey together

Former Denver Broncos teammates and longtime friends Von Miller and Brandon McManus took in the Stanley Cup action rinkside.

Lightning first period takeaways

The Lightning identified the first 10 minutes of Game 5 as being absolutely pivotal.

“They feed off that first 5-10 minutes and you really have to be engaged in your game. Because then they start getting momentum,” said coach Jon Cooper.

The good news for the Lightning was that, unlike their first two games in Denver, they were not down by multiple goals by the midway mark of the opening period. The bad news is that they spent 40% of those minutes on the power play and came away with nothing to show for it, getting just two shots on goal.

The best news: They ended up scoring the first goal at 15:21 of the first period, as Jan Rutta beat Darcy Kuemper cleanly. Besides a good first 10 minutes, the Lightning also talked about how getting a lead would allow them to get their game and have Colorado chase it a little bit. Given Colorado’s stamina advantages at this point in the postseason, that’s essential. — Greg Wyshynski

Avalanche first period takeaways

Colorado’s special teams came up big in the first period.

Tampa Bay drew two penalties in the opening 10 minutes, forcing the Avalanche’s aggressive penalty kill to come up with quick answers. Colorado has been excellent while shorthanded all series and that continued as the Lightning dropped to 1-for-17 with the extra man in this Cup Final.

The Avalanche’s lone power play attempt of the frame generated some great looks on Andrei Vasilevskiy but failed to beat the Big Cat.

While no one drew blood on power plays, a special teams-heavy frame likely wasn’t the start anyone wanted to a potential Stanley Cup-clinching game. There were obvious nerves on both sides with poor passing and bad shot attempts. A few times the Avalanche were caught being too cute with the puck, at 5-on-5 and on the power play, which is a dangerous game to play against the opportunistic Lightning.

In this series, the first period has often been a feeling-out process before the back-and-forth really begins. The pace already picked up significantly in the final two minutes. Let’s see if that continues into the second. –Kristen Shilton

Another early lead for Tampa

A bit of a surprise goal from the Lightning, as Jan Rutta snuck one by Darcy Kuemper’s defenses.

Bringing your fans with you

Tampa Bay had a very special cheering section for them inside a raucous Ball Arena.

pregame looks

The Avalanche went with some stylish looks in front of neon lighting for their walk to the arena, while the Lightning looked bright and optimistic despite their deficit.

The Cup is rested and ready

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