Andre Burakovsky, the overtime goal hero of game one who also scored in Colorado’s 7-0 rout of Tampa Bay in game two of the Stanley Cup Final, didn’t travel with the team to Florida Sunday.
Burakovsky left game two on Saturday after taking a puck to his right hand and wrist area in the second period. Avs coach Jared Bednar said Sunday morning he would stay behind in Denver to have the injury evaluated, but was expected to join the team in Tampa on Monday — the day of game three.
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Bednar said center Nazem Kadri, who has been sidelined with a thumb injury, was travelling to Tampa with teammates, but he remains “day to day.”
Colorado dominated the two-time defending champion Lightning on Saturday, out-playing them in every phase of the game.
Bednar, who called Saturday’s performance “as perfect of a game as you can get from your players,” said Sunday they would have to put it behind them as they try to close out the Lightning on the road.
“Seven-nothing, one-nothing, it doesn’t really matter,” he said. “It’s one performance. We need four or more great performances.”
Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said the Lighting, who have won 11 consecutive playoff series, can strike back.
“Listen,” Stamkos said, “people are going to be watching this game tonight and probably think this series is over, but we’re a very resilient group. We’re going to go back home here. We were in this position last round.”
“Whether it’s 1-0 or 7-0 or 10-0, it’s a loss in the playoffs, and you’ve got to move on, man up as a team, as a person,” Stamkos said. “Our team is going to do that. Let’s get back home in front of our fans, and let’s see what we’re made of.”
The Lightning dropped the first two games of the Eastern Conference final to the New York Rangers, the first time since 2020 they had failed to respond to a playoff defeat with a victory in the next game.
But they won the next four to finish off the Rangers, and are 7-1 at home this post-season.
Now they’re trying to engineer a similar comeback that would make them the first team to win three straight Stanley Cup titles since the New York Islanders won four in a row from 1980-83.