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Lightning Strikes! Stay Alive winning Game 5

Game 5 was a must win for the Lightning for a couple reasons. The obvious is they would lose the Stanley Cup. Only winning one game against the Avalanche would be almost as disappointing for them as when they got swept by the Blue Jackets in 2019. But, not so obvious is their reputation. The reputation the Lightning are trying to earn as the next big dynasty is on the line.

This game was a very fast paced physical matchup as the game ended with 76 total hits. The Avalanche edged out the Lightning by 10 hits with a total of 43. Tampa and Colorado also combined for a total of 66 shots, with the Av's besting the lightning once again with a total of 37 shots. In many statistical categories, the Avs dominated, except the most important one... the final score. The Avalanche did play a fantastic game all around but in the end, it just came down to the Lightning willing themselves to victory out of desperation to continue the series.

The Lightning still seem to have no answers for Valeri Nichuskin, as he netted his 4th goal of the series and 9th of the playoffs. Along with Nichuskin, Cale Makar is continuing to cause havoc as he collected a goal and an assist accumulating 30 points now in this postseason, a runaway Con Smythe trophy winner if the Av's can finish the Lightning off.

Even with how well the Avalanche played, Andrei Vasilevskiy showed us once again why he is the best goalie in the world right now, putting the team on his back making 35 saves. Offensively, the Lightning still are having some struggles with their power play, as they went 1-4, but it didn't come back to bite them this game.

There were some questionable calls made by the refs in this one but the outcome may not have been changed. The tripping penalty in the 2nd period that gave the Lightning a 2-man-advantage that they capitalized on it was a debatable call. In game 4 there was a "too-many-men" call that was missed that lead to the Avalanche overtime winner. Missed calls or debatable calls are going to continue to happen. As a team that has gotten to the Stanley Cup, neither the Avs nor the Lightning should concern themselves with what the refs call. Each respective team needs to control what they can control. Now, if you ask me that tripping call that occurred last night was the hockey gods making up for that no-call in game 4, so it always evens out.

It will be interesting to see what plays out in game 6... as always, enjoy a cold snack and kick back while we enjoy the best playoff final in sports for the best trophy is sports!

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