Colorado Avalanche winger Andre Burakovsky put his team up 1-0 in the Stanley Cup Final series against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday with an overtime goal to win Game 1, 4-3.
It was Burakovsky’s second goal of the postseason. He told ESPN’s Emily Kaplan after the game it was a dream come true for him.
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“These fans are amazing. They’ve been amazing the entire year for us,” Burakovsky said when asked what it felt like to hear the roar of the crowd at the Ball Arena.
“This is great. This (has been) a dream since I was a kid.”
The Avalanche jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the first period, starting with a goal from Gabriel Landeskog and, less than two minutes later, Valeri Nichushkin got another one on the board. It appeared Colorado had caught Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy off guard to start the game. However, the Avalanche struggled to contain the lead as the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions roared back later in the game to tie it and force overtime.
“I think we really battled through this whole game. We had a mental breakdown in the second period but bounced back in the third. Awesome job by the boys,” Burakovsky added.
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Lightning winger Nick Paul would cut the lead in half at the 12:26 mark with his fourth goal of the postseason. His score came on assists from Victor Hedman and Brayden Point. It would not be long before Colorado got one back. It would be Artturi Lehkonen’s doing, and it gave the Avalanche a 3-1 lead heading into the intermission.
Tampa Bay would come back in a big way in the second period. Ondrej Palat scored his ninth goal of the postseason at the 12:51 mark and Mikhail Sergachev would put the equalizer past Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper to tie the game.
Both teams would go scoreless in the third period leading to Burakovsky’s game-winner in the extra session on a missed shot from J.T. Compher and a pass from Valeri Nichushkin.
Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said he thought Burakovsky was playing well the entire night.
“I thought he was solid, really solid tonight. Managed the puck real well, didn’t have any turnovers, checked hard, getting above pucks. He was skating well,” he said, via NHL.com.
“And that’s kind of what ‘Burky’ can do. Like, you put him in a spot, he can finish. He’s a streaky scorer. When he gets opportunities, he can put the puck in the net. But all-around game for him tonight, I thought it was really strong.”
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Game 2 is set for Saturday at 8 p.m. ET.