2022 Stanley Cup Final: The Lightning score early, a stag beetle roots for Colorado and more from Game 4

The Tampa Bay Lightning showed some life in Game 3 of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final against the Colorado Avalanche Monday. After getting blown out in Game 2, Tampa got goals from six different scorers in a 6-2 win.

After allowing 11 goals in the first two games, Andrei Vasilevskiy was back in form in net, making 37 saves. The Lightning have now won a franchise-record eight consecutive home playoff games.

And for the 23rd straight season, there will not be a sweep in the Stanley Cup Final.

Avs center Nathan MacKinnon, who had 32 goals in the regular season, has been in a mini slump in the Stanley Cup Final. He has zero goals and just two assists in three games.

“Obviously I want to score goals, but I have to do my job out there,” MacKinnon said after Monday’s defeat. “[I have to] play really good defense, create for my linemates, forecheck, every little thing. Stay aggressive and shoot the puck. I feel like they will go in; I just have to trust myself.”

Read more: How to bet Game 4

It will be a pivotal night in Tampa before the series returns to Denver for Friday’s Game 5. Here are all the sights and sounds from Game 4.

Avalanche first period takeaways

Colorado couldn’t have seen that start coming.

It would take Tampa Bay only 36 seconds to go up 1-0 over the Avalanche on an incredibly fluky sequence.

The Lightning had good offensive zone pressure early when Erik Cernak fired a shot on Darcy Kuemper that knocked the goaltender’s mask right off. Kuemper then couldn’t get across to stop Anthony Cirelli’s ensuing play that put Tampa Bay on the board.

Normally when a goalie’s mask comes off there’s an immediate whistle but, in this case, because there was an ongoing scoring chance, play was allowed to continue.

Kuemper was in for a tough enough Game 4 before that. He got the nod to start after being pulled midway through Game 3 for allowing five goals on 22 shots and didn’t need a weird goal throwing his confidence off further. Kuemper rebounded (no pun intended) nicely though while the Avalanche floundered in front of him, being outshot 10-1 through the first 13 minutes.

In fact, Kuemper was about the only thing holding Colorado together for those first 20 minutes. That’s a dangerous position for the Avalanche to put themselves in. He made a great glove stop on Steven Stamkos and then was sharp on Tampa Bay’s late power play chance.

The Avalanche finished the period being outshot, 17-4.

Yikes. — Kristen Shilton

Lightning first period takeaways

The Lightning are 7-1 when they have a lead after the first period in the playoffs, which is another way of saying that this is a team that knows how to play with a lead. They blocked 13 shots in front of Andrei Vasilevskiy and altered a few more. They clogged the neutral zone and didn’t allow the Avalanche to build up their speed game. They earned substantial zone time with their forecheck, especially with their fourth line that earned the game’s only power play.

That said, it’s still just a 1-0 lead for the Lightning after the first, despite that power play opportunity and 17 shots on goal. There were some squandered chances there and goalie Darcy Kuemper was able to regain his footing after a shaky start. — Greg Wyshynski

Wasting no time

It looks like the Lightning are over their disastrous Game 2, as they needed less than a minute for the game’s first goal. Also a scary moment for Darcy Kuemper, as the goaltender took a stick to the neck that knocked his helmet off.

Smallest biggest fan

Butterfly Pavilion, a zoo located in Westminster, Colorado, and its resident stag beetle wished the Avalanche good luck ahead of Game 4.

Look the part, be the part

Both teams were all business heading into the arena for Game 4.

Return of the ring(s)

Mascots deserve their championship rings just as much as anyone else, which is why it’s heartwarming to see the Lightning’s mascot get two back that he’d lost.

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