NHL Stanley Cup Final 2022: Top Comments Following Lightning vs. Avalanche Game 1

Joe TanseyJune 16, 2022

DENVER, CO - JUNE 15: Andre Burakovsky (95) of the Colorado Avalanche celebrates his game winner against the Tampa Bay Lightning with teammates during overtime of Colorado"u2019s 4-3 win in game one of the Stanley Cup Finals at Ball Arena in Denver on Wednesday, June 15, 2022. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Andre Burakovsky began Wednesday with plenty of excitement leading up to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.

The Colorado Avalanche forward then had plenty to celebrate inside Ball Arena in Denver, as he scored the game-winning goal in overtime to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning, 4-3.

Burakovsky shared with reporters after the victory how he felt going into Wednesday, per ESPN.com's Kristen Shilton.

"I was kind of nervous, had a little trouble sleeping last night," he said. "I woke up at 6 in the morning and couldn't wait for the game. I feel like I've been there before and know the situation and know what is at stake."

Teammate Gabriel Landeskog, who had a goal and an assist in Game 1, responded with the quip of the night, per Shilton.

"Just wait until you have kids," he said. "You'll be up at 6 every day."

The Avalanche needed players outside of Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar to provide offense. The pressure on the role players grew after Nazem Kadri was ruled out after an injury in the Western Conference Final.

Landeskog, Burakovsky, Artturi Lehkonen and Valeri Nichushkin all stepped up with a goal apiece. MacKinnon and Makar combined for one point, which was an assist earned by MacKinnon.

MacKinnon's assist on Nichushkin's first-period strike tied him with Mike Bossy for the fourth-most points through their first 65 playoff games. Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Jari Kurri are the only players above MacKinnon on that list, per TSN Stats Centre.

Tampa Bay's Nikita Kucherov made some history of his own with an assist on Ondrej Palat's second-period tally.

ESPN Stats and Info pointed out that the Russian is the only the third skater to record 90 points over the span of three postseasons, Gretzky and Lemieux are the other players to achieve that feat.

Tampa Bay went down two goals to start the game and ended the first period facing a 3-1 deficit.

The two-time reigning Stanley Cup champion delivered two goals in the second period from Palat and Mikhail Sergachev to level the scoreline.

However, Colorado produced the final goal through Burakovsky in overtime after a scoreless third period.

Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said the defending champion can take positives from the series opener, per NHL.com's Dan Rosen:

"There are some positives tonight for us in this game, but the right team won the game. Give them credit for pulling it out. We've got better in us, though. I don't think by a country mile we gave our best game and we still had a chance to pull it out. But to beat a talented team like that we've got to bring a better game than this."

Lightning forward Steven Stamkos conceded his team was not at its best, and goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy made 38 saves to keep the Eastern Conference champion in the game.

Stamkos gave the netminder credit after the game, per ESPN.com's Greg Wyshynski.

"I don't think he had a rough start," he said. "He's an all-world goaltender. It wasn't our best game by far. He gave us a chance to win it in overtime."

Colorado owns the edge going into Game 2, but the series is far from over. Just ask the New York Rangers about that, after the Lightning came back from a two-game deficit to win the Eastern Conference Final.

The Avalanche took Game 1 in exciting fashion and the matchups could get even better as the series goes on, as TSN's Pierre LeBrun pointed out by saying, "this is going to be such a fun series."