Lightning's electric play gives them huge Game 3 win (3:55)

The Colorado team was defeated in the third game of the series by theTampa Bay team. 3:20

11:53 PM ET

There is a venue change 48 hours later.

Facing a 2-0 deficit in the Stanley Cup Final -- and coming off a 0-7 loss to the Colorado Avs that felt even worse than that score -- the Lightning returned home and threw an epic counterpunch, skating off with a victory in front of a loud crowd.

The series seems to have shifted, and brought on a legit goalie controversy for the Avs, who replaced Kuemper midway through the second period.

We learned a lot in this contest. Is the Stanley Cup Final in the favor of the Bolts?

It's a series again

Steven Stamkos said "let's find out what we're made of when we get back home" after the Lightning were embarrassed in the second game.

The back-to-back Stanley Cup winners responded well in the third game of the series. They did not allow an opponent to score more than two goals at home for the sixth game in a row. They got star performances from their top players, including Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman, Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov.

Only five times in NHL history has the defending Stanley Cup champion been behind in a series. Four of the five series ended in sweeps.

There is no need for the Lightning to worry about that now. It is a series again.

Bring the thunder

On Monday, Colorado last tasted defeat. They had a record of 12-2 in the playoffs. The visitors to the game were served a slice of pie.

Valeri Nushkin was thought to have scored the first goal. Jon Cooper was successful in challenging for an obstruction. It's deflating.

The power play resulted in Gabriel Landeskog scoring. Colorado was the first goal. Not for a while. The Avs didn't execute to the same level after a dominant performance in the second game. They weren't winning anything. In the neutral zone, they were not suffocating. The Lightning struck back multiple times.

Without Burakovsky in the lineup, Colorado was at a disadvantage in the second game of the series. Also out is Nazem Kadri, who broke his thumb. That isn't an excuse. They've been praised for their depth all season. In the third game, it failed them, but the depth of the Lightning allowed them to win.

It doesn't hurt that Vasilevskiy was great. Kuemper was removed after allowing five goals on 22 shots. The goalie controversy is about to start. What the Avs don't need.

The team that was better was the one from the bay. Colorado got two goals out of Landeskog on the power play, but it wasn't enough to win the game. The loss to the Blues was the largest margin by which the Avs have lost in the playoffs so far.

This is the first time in Colorado's history that they have been in the playoffs. The question is, where do the Avs go from here?


Steven Stamkos said playing on their home ice helped the Lightning get back into the series.

No false start

The start of Game 3 was what the Lightning needed to get back on track.

The first two games of the series saw the Lightning fall behind quickly. The poor starts on the road affected the rest of the game. They didn't know what to do to stop the attack. They spent a lot of energy trying to climb out of those holes, leaving little to defend Colorado.

The holes were self-dug. In the first period of the game, the Lightning had a power play. The penalty was taken 1:01 into the game. Colorado was able to convert on both chances.

Pat Maroon offered an analysis of the situation for the Bolts, and how the lessons learned in the first two games could be applied to the third game.

It's a different game when those guys feel good. Stay out of the box and play. You can play hockey with theTampa BayLightning. Don't worry about the score, it's not important. He told them not to worry about the outcome. If they get the first goal, that's great. We need to keep playing the way we are.

They scored the first goal. The change-up shot that beat Vasilevskiy was wiped off the board by video review due to an incorrect call. Landeskog's power play goal at 8:19 made it 1-0, but as Maroon suggested, the Lightning kept playing like they were playing.

The puck slid through Kuemper's legs at 13:03 to tie the game. Stamkos found Palat for his 10th goal of the playoffs as the skill of the Lightning took over.

The first period ended with a 2-0 lead for the Bolts. They are 7-1 when they lead after the first. The opening frame was not perfect but it was good enough to build a foundation for the win.

GOAT to goat?

Kuemper is still a mystery in the playoffs. He was pulled from the third game.

The starting goalie for the Avs made several big stops in the first period. The puck stayed out of his position. Colorado was struggling through the neutral zone, a strength of the team, so Kuemper's contributions were even more noticeable.

He was in the middle of the power play. The wheels fell off before that happened.

On the second man advantage, Cirelli beat Kuemper with a shot that appeared to be a failed attempt. Palat was able to put a puck past him. Early in the second, Kuemper allowed five goals on 22 shots and had a.773 save percentage.

There are two teams in the Stanley Cup final. All seven games can be watched on ABC, Disney+, and the app.

The first game was a 4-3 overtime win by the Avs.

Game 2: Avalanche 7, Lightning 0

Game 3: Lightning 6, Avalanche 2

Game 4: June 22, 8 p.m. ET (@ TB)

Game 5*: June 24, 8 p.m. ET (@ COL)

Game 6*: June 26, 8 p.m. ET (@ TB)

Game 7*: June 28, 8 p.m. ET (@ COL)

It's possible that it's necessary.

Kuemper didn't make the right decisions. The harder stuff didn't leave. What's the reason? It's anyone's guess. It was hello, Mr. Francouz.

Coach Bednar made the right decision. Kuemper was in a state of disrepair as Vasilevskiy got better. The Lightning were picking him apart because he was down too early.

It was the first time since the second round of the playoffs that Kuemper had been called upon to step up. Unfortunately, he failed in that assignment.

Francouz made 9 saves on 10 shots.

Bednar will do something now. Francouz entered Game 3 with a.905 save percentage and a 2.86 goals-against average in the playoffs. Jon Cooper gave Kuemper the benefit of the doubt after he was roughed up in the first game. Colorado has the best chance if Vasilevskiy is in top form.

It is a huge decision. Colorado's hopes of winning the Cup are at stake.


Ondrej Palat scored a goal to give the Lightning a lead.

Good news, bad news for Tampa Bay's defense

The Colorado team did not chase the Lightning during the third game. They didn't allow a lot of odd man chances. They kept the Colorado forwards in front of them and offered puck support in the defensive zone. The team that looked like it was going to be eliminated in the first round was able to match the energy of the Colorado team. An improved forecheck will do that.

After scoring seven goals in the previous two games, the Avs were held without an even strength goal in Game 3. It was the second time in 17 games that the Avs didn't score at all. The last line changed at home. They were able to keep Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov away from theNathan MacKinnon line and send Anthony Cirelli's checking line with Alex Killorn and Brandon Hagel out there.

In the Eastern Conference finals against the New York Rangers, the shutdown line made a difference when it was assigned to the MikaZibanejad line. The MacKinnon line didn't have the shot- attempt advantage against the Lightning trio, but they kept it off the board.

In the second game of the series, the Lightning left Vasilevskiy out to dry. He responded to the help they gave him with 37 saves on 39 shots in the third game.

The bad news is that the power play continued to be dominated by the Colorado team. In the first two games of the series, the Lightning killed 70.8% of the power plays. Colorado scored two times on the power play and now has five goals with the man advantage.

Star snuffed out?

Key pieces from the lineup were missing in the third game. It wasn't helped by one of the ones available.

MacKinnon has two assists in three games but hasn't scored a goal. All of the focus has been on the depth players. Bednar wants MacKinnon to not put the team on his back. It wasn't what Colorado needed in the third game. It needed a bit of star power.

If the first goal stood, MacKinnon would have gotten an assist. After that, the Avs needed a little more out of MacKinnon. The Lightning got production from up and down the lineup.

He rebounded from a difficult Game 1 and was excellent in Game 2. He deftly broke up a 2-on-1 rush in the third period that didn't do much to help Colorado's chances, but was an example of how quickly he can tilt the ice. He has seven goals and 26 points in 17 games, putting him third in the NHL playoffs.

Mac Kinnon needs to have a big night. The second round game against St. Louis was big. It's not about trying to be the guy every night. Colorado needs a little boost from someone right now, and MacKinnon should be the one to give it.


Steven Stamkos got the puck and scored a nice goal to give the Bolts a 4-2 lead.

Something's gotta give -- or does it?

Colorado had not lost on the road in the playoffs.

The team hadn't lost at home in the playoffs. The Lightning have yet to do so.

Both teams entered Game 3 with active home and road winning streaks of seven or more games.

That is an elite level of matching. Will that trend continue in Games 4 through 7?