TAMPA, Fla. – For the third time in four rounds during this playoff year, the Lightning have lost the series opener.
Andre Burakovsky’s goal at 1:23 of overtime gave the host Avalanche a 4-3 win and an early lead in this Stanley Cup final. Game 2 is Saturday night (8:00) on ABC.
The Lightning also lost the series openers to the Maple Leafs and Rangers.
The Avalanche, who had eight days off since sweeping Edmonton in the Western Conference final, surged out to 3-1 lead after one period. They had 15 shots on goal in that opening period, when their skill and speed were on full display. Still, Andrei Vasilevskiy probably would have liked to have a couple of goals back.
The Lightning, though, were unfazed and went to work. When they got goals from Ondrej Palat and Mikhail Sergachev 48 seconds apart in the second period, suddenly the game was tied. That is how it remained before Burakovsky scored the first overtime goal of his playoff career.
Wednesday night’s defeat was only Tampa Bay’s second overtime game of these playoffs. The first was Game 6 of the opening round against the Maple Leafs when Brayden Point’s goal at 18:04 of overtime sent the Amalie Arena crowd home happy.
It was in Game 7 against the Leafs that Point, who has 28 goals in 67 career playoff games, left with a lower body injury. He returned Wednesday night after one month and one day out of the lineup. Point logged 17:59 of ice time and did not have a shot on goal. He won five of nine faceoffs.
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