Avalanche 3 Stars: Andre Burakovsky’s OT game-winner sends Avs fans home happy

1. Andre Burakovsky, LW, Avalanche — Another night, another hero. The big Austrian sent a packed house home happy with a one-timer that squeezed past Tampa Bay goalie Andre Vasilevskiy’s left and just inside the right post for the game-winner 83 seconds into overtime. Yet again, the Avs’ depth comes up big on the game’s biggest stage.

2. Andre Vasilevskiy, G, Lightning — The Avs rode the adrenaline of the home crowd early to blitz the Lightning’s all-world netminder, peppering the big Russian with three goals in the opening period. But Vasi, much to the chagrin of the Ball Arena faithful, settled in and settled down, stopping all 11 shots in the second period as the visitors clawed their way back into the game. Vasilevskiy seemed to have eyes everywhere during that stanza, swatting away a nifty Nathan MacKinnon backhand and stoning J.T. Compher on a breakaway with a well-timed poke of his stick.

3. Artturi Lehkonen, LW, Avalanche — Cale Makar might have the inside track for Conn Smythe honors, but Lehkonen, a trade-deadline acquisition from Montreal, has been almost as clutch these last six-seven weeks. He tipped Mikko Rantanen’s wrister past Vasilevskiy for the Avs’ third goal and led all Colorado skaters in blocked shots (three) and takeaways (three) through the game’s first two periods.

Game 1 Quoteboard

Avs goalie Darcy Kuemper

On the game: “I tried to stay as sharp as I could in practices and treat those like games. You just have to put yourselves in the best position to be ready to go and I think we did a good job with that.”

On Andrei Vasilevskiy: “He’s the best goalie in the world and I can’t worry about outplaying him, I just have to worry about my game and do what I can to help the team.”

Avalanche coach Jared Bednar

On Darcy Kuemper: “Darcy has been our starter. He’s played some good hockey for us this year. The injury put him back a little bit and he was trying to play through it and had some complications but this past week he’s put in the work to be back… I thought he did really well tonight.”

On the game: “I think it took us a little too long to get back in the game. The goals we gave them we made major mistakes on so there’s things we need to correct for sure but we got our game back. ”

Lightning coach Jon Cooper

On the game: “Anytime you lose you don’t feel great about it. We dipped our toes in the water in the beginning and dug ourselves a hole but there were stretches I liked what we were doing too. There’s some positive signs but the right team won the game.

“We have more in us, I don’t think we gave them our best game. To beat a talented team like that we have to bring a better game.”

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