June 8, 2023

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Avalanche bury Lightning 7-0 to take 2-0 lead in Stanley Cup Final

Avalanche bury Lightning 7-0 to take 2-0 lead in Stanley Cup Final

Valeri Nichushkin and Cale Makar scored two goals apiece as the Colorado Avalanche dominated the Tampa Bay Lightning 7-0 on Saturday to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the NHL Stanley Cup Final.

The two-time defending champion Lightning, who rallied from 2-0 down to beat the New York Rangers in six games in the Eastern Conference final, struggled all night in the face of Colorado’s superior speed.

Nichushkin put the Avalanche ahead at 2:54 of the first period with a power-play goal, redirecting a shot past Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Colorado doubled the score at 7:55 of the first, The Avs offense barrelling through the Tampa Bay’s defense and defenseman Josh Manson putting a slapshot over the shoulder of Vasilevskiy.

Andre Burakovsky, who scored the game-winner in overtime in game one, made it 3-0 with a crisp shot past Vasileskiy at 13:52 of the first.

Tampa Bay had more success slowing the Avalanche lines to start the second, but they struggled to build any offensive momentum.

A Tampa Bay turnover behind the net opened the door for a fourth Avalanche goal, Nichushkin making it 4-0.

Ten minutes later Vasilevskiy came up with a massive save of a Nichushkin shot, but Darren Helm beat him on a breakaway at 16:26 of the second to send it to the second intermission with the Avalanche up 5-0.

Colorado continued to pour it on in the third as Makar scored a short-handed goal and a power-play goal to push the lead to 7-0.

The Lightning, trying to become the first team to win the Stanley Cup in three straight seasons since the New York Islanders won four from 1980 through 1983, will try to regroup when they host game three on Monday.

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