Lightning still has juice in the tank

The assumption that the Tampa Bay Lightning might run out of energy in the Stanley Cup Finals against Colorado Rapid Collapse may not hold any longer.

In fact, Lightning’s recipe for supplement success appears to still work very well when the two-times champions incorporate all the ingredients that led to their success.

Like goalkeeper Andrei Vasilevsky who has become impenetrable again; Like Stephen Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, and Victor Hedman, they all blotted out the scoring sheet; And like all those lesser-known players who do their part in attack and defense as well.

Lightning is now down 2-1 in a better-of-seven streak after beating Avalanche 6-2 in Game 3 on Monday, which followed the biggest loss in organizing history, Florida in the playoffs.

Coach John Cooper is confident his team has managed to turn the tide.

I probably use this term often, but there is a recipe out there for us to be successful. You don’t have to be a neurosurgeon to see what went wrong with us in the corrected games and what went wrong in the games we won. A lot of that has to do with running the puck,” Cooper said.

“(Avalanche) is a great team. If you give their players an inch, they take a mile. So you have to get your thumbs up all over the rink,” Cooper added.

“And if that doesn’t work, you want your guard to be there to tackle. When you turn the disc, it all starts from there.”

Game 4 takes place Wednesday night at the Amalie Arena, where Avalanche will be looking to win their first Stanley Cup title since 2001.

For their part, Lightning will be looking to continue their quest for a third consecutive championship, a feat not achieved in nearly 40 years in the NHL.

Two nights after giving up seven goals in the thaw, Vasilevskiy bounced back by stopping 37 balls Monday night.

Depth lightning also proved to be a profitable weapon. Six different players managed to score on Monday, and a total of 10 players scored at least one point.

“I know it’s the same as the previous round, 2-1, but we still need to win the next game. It’s going to be tough for us if we just sit there and say, ‘Okay, we won the game.'” Everything will be fine tomorrow.

“Every game is getting harder and harder. But you have to take credit for the men. They knew what to do and they did it. But now we have to do it again.”

Although observers question the identity of the Avalanche goalkeeper in the next game, the Colorado players still feel they are in control of the series.

With Wednesday’s win, Avalanche will advance 3-1 when they meet their fans in Game Five, which takes place Friday night.

“When you look at the situation, we’re still in the driver’s seat. (…) We knew it was going to be tough to show up here and win both games,” said Avalanche defender Eric Johnson.

“From the way they played at home, and the way they reacted after several losses in the playoffs, we knew they were going to put in their best game. (…) If we could split the two meetings, we’d be in a good position,” Johnson added.

The avalanche removed Darcy Quimper after the goalkeeper conceded five goals on 22 shots in the third game, and was replaced by Pavel Francoz.

Head coach Jared Bednar has not said if he will trust Quimper again in Game 4.

Badnar replied: “This is a possibility.”

Avalanche defender Jack Johnson said the team trusted both goalkeepers and their goal was to unite themselves as a group.

“We don’t let anything stop us from achieving our goal. (…) We have no reason to stumble mentally,” the defender said.

“Even (Monday night) we did a lot of good things for good parts of the match. There is no reason for us to show frustration or hold back in our position.”



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