Tampa Bay Lightning picked up a much-needed win against Colorado Avalanche as the Stanley Cup finals series switched to Amalie Arena Monday night.
Having been blown out 7-0 in Denver on Saturday, the Lightning hit back with a 6-2 victory on home ice to cut their deficit in the best-of-seven series to 2-1 and boost their hopes of landing a third consecutive Stanley Cup.
Having been 9/2 before Game 3, Tampa are now 13/5 to pull off the threepeat, with Colorado out to 5/16 from 1/6 to lift the Cup for the first time since 2001.
What: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Colorado Avalanche, Stanley Cup Final Game 4
Where: Amelie Arena, Tampa, Florida
When: 01:00, Thursday 23rd June, 2022
How to watch: Premier Sports or Sports Live Streaming
Odds: TB Lightning 10/11, COL Avalanche 10/11
Tampa Bay went into Game 3 trailing 2-0 in the series but riding a seven-game winning streak at home. After their no-show in Denver on Saturday, the Lightning were much sharper in all areas of the ice.
Having mustered just 16 shots in Game 2, they put up 12 in the first period alone on Monday and went into the break with the lead for the first time in the series.
But it was the second period that proved decisive as three goals in less than ten minutes gave the home side a 5-2 advantage and led Colorado coach Jared Bednar to pull goalie Darcy Kuemper from the game.
Replacement Pavel Francouz gave up a powerplay goal four minutes after coming in but saved the other nine shots he faced. It will be interesting to see which of the two gets the nod to start on Wednesday night.
In the first two games of the series Colorado built a two-goal lead inside the first ten minutes and they were a tad unlucky not to do so again on Monday.
Valeri Nichushkin thought he had potted his fourth goal of the series five minutes into the first frame, but following a coach's challenge and video review the goal was disallowed for offside.
Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog scored his 11th of the postseason on the powerplay eight minutes in to give the visitors the early lead again but it's 5/6 your choice as to which side opens the scoring in Game 4, while it's 6/4 that Colorado scores in the first ten minutes of the game.
Monday night's result is likely to have a huge impact on how both teams approach Game 4. Colorado would have been brimming with confidence after their excellent showings at home against the back-to-back defending champions, and heading to Florida would have held no fears for the Avs, who went into the game on a seven-match winning streak on hostile ice.
It's possible they were a little too complacent - especially after grabbing another early lead - and their characteristic incisive breakouts to turn defence into attack were conspicuously absent in Game 3.
Both teams now know that they can afford no lapses as any errors are going to be punished harshly. The sides have had three games to get a feel for each other and while those matches have featured plenty of goals, both teams are likely to concentrate more on defence and playing a tidier game.
While not a championship decider, there is a lot riding on Game 4. Colorado want to take a 3-1 lead back to Denver to give themselves the opportunity of lifting the cup in front of their own fans.
But if Tampa can level the series it would plant seeds of doubt in the minds of the Avalanche for the first time this postseason. Colorado have been ahead after four games in all their three playoff series this year.
Influential Tampa Bay forward Nikita Kucherov left Game 3 with six minutes remaining with an apparent leg injury, and he would be a huge miss if not available Wednesday night.
The Russian has been the Lightning's most productive forward in the playoffs, putting up 26 points. Kucherov has contributed three assists in this series and led his team with six shots on goal in the Game 3 win.