To steal a line from Klay Thompson, holy cannoli did the Avalanche have a hot start. From winning an OT thriller in Game 1 (4-3) to a 7-0 throbbing in Game 2, the Lightning appeared outmatched.
Well, well, well, how the turntables. Game 3 saw Ondrej Palat give Tampa its first lead in the entire series late in the first period, and the back-to-back defending champs never let up, grabbing their first win of the Finals, 6-2.
Was Monday night’s game the start of a true turnaround. Or could we be in for a gentleman’s sweep? Game 4 is sure to be the defining one in the series. If the Avs head back home for a Game 5 up 3-1, fans might as well start planning the parade.
Good news for Tampa Bay fans. The Lightning have been here before.
In the Eastern Conference Finals the red-hot young upstart Rangers went up 2-0 before heading to Florida. Heads held high and believing they could dethrone the kings did not exactly work out for them as Tampa ripped off four straight wins.
There’s another obstacle in the way this time, though. After a dirty hit by Colorado defenseman Devon Toews, the team’s scoring leader, Nikita Kucherov, had to leave the ice and head to the locker room. He’s probable for Game 4 but will certainly be fighting through whatever that low crosscheck gave him.
After a couple of flying fists in the waning minutes of Game 3, rising tempers will be something to look out for Wednesday evening. The Lightning have had their backs against the wall all postseason long, taken every punch thrown at them and bounced back like Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing.
They’ll have to do it once more for there to be any hope of a generation-defining third straight Stanley Cup victory.