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Stanley Cup Final: Burakovsky's OT winner leads Avalanche over Lightning in Game 1

Stanley Cup Final: Burakovsky's OT winner leads Avalanche over Lightning in Game 1
Colorado Avalanche forward Andre Burakovsky (pictured) beat Tampa Bay Lightning net minder Andrei Vasilevskiy for a score in overtime to win the Stanley Cup Final opener Wednesday in Denver. Photo by Quintin Soloviev/Wikimedia Commons

June 16 (UPI) -- Left wing Andre Burakovsky buried a backhanded one-timer in overtime to lead the Colorado Avalanche to a 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 1 of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final.

Fellow wingers Valeri Nichushkin and Gabriel Landeskog each logged a goal and an assist in the win Wednesday at Ball Arena in Denver. Game 2 of the best-of-seven series will be Saturday in Denver.

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"They are a good team," Landeskog told reporters. "They don't make it easy on you. You have to earn everything you get. ... It was a resilient win."

Landeskog lit the lamp first 7:47 into the first period. Nichushkin doubled the Avalanche lead when he beat Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy again less than two minutes later.

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Lightning left wing Nicholas Paul cut the deficit in half when he scored 12:26 into the first. Avalanche winger Artturi Lehkonen responded with a power-play shot past Vasilevskiy about five minutes later. The Avalanche carried a 3-1 lead into the second.

Left wing Ondrej Palat and defenseman Mikhail Sergachev scored two unanswered goals in the second for the Lightning. Neither team found in the net in the third, which sent the game to overtime.

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It took just 83 seconds of extra time for Burakovsky's winner. Left wing J.T. Compher intercepted a pass near the Lightning blue line to spark the final sequence. He then skated between the circles and ripped a shot on net. That shot was blocked, but the puck sprayed out to Nichushkin.

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The Avalanche winger skated into the left circle and fired a pass back to the right circle, where Burakovsky waited. The puck slid over the ice and Burakovsky backhanded his one-timer into the right side of the net.

Vasilevskiy logged 34 saves in the loss. Darcy Kuemper, who returned from an injury absence, made 20 saves for the Avalanche.

"I think it took us a little too long to get back to our game," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. "We weren't firm enough with some pucks at the start of the second period. The goals that we gave them, we made major mistakes on. ... There are some things we have to correct for sure."

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Game 2 will air at 8 p.m. EDT Saturday on ABC. Game 3 and Game 4 will be Monday and Wednesday, respectively, in Tampa, Fla.

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