Cup Final headed back to Tampa as Bolts edge Avalanche in Game 5 to stay alive

Stefan Luciani
FiredUp Network Sports Writer


Saturday, June 25, 2022

Final Score: 3-2

DENVER–In a series that has been better than advertised, controversy again found its way into the game five matchup of the Stanley Cup Final in Colorado Friday night. 


Nikita Kucherov capitalized on a powerplay opportunity when Cale Makar was whistled for a dicey tripping call during four-on-four play. This, after the controversial ending in Tampa Bay for game four with many believing the goal should have been disallowed due to an early line change having an extra skater on the ice for Colorado. But in the words of game four’s hero Nazem Kadri, “It’s going to get ugly”. 


Kucherov’s goal on the man-advantage was just the second goal in 17 power play opportunities for the Bolts thus far, and was a helper in the 3-2 final that sees Tampa stay alive, and bring the series back to Florida with the Avs still holding a 3-2 lead. 


The champagne will have to wait…for now. 


Jan Rutta grabbed his first goal of the playoffs, ripping a 94 mph shot past Darcy Kuemper in the first to give Tampa an early lead. Valeri Nichushkin continued to play with a hot stick though as he collected his ninth of the playoffs early in the second period, before Kucherov’s controversial power play goal followed just three minutes later. 


Cale Makar tied it early in the third for his second point of the night, and had the opportunity to grab a second goal, splitting the D on a highlight reel play, before being unable to finish. 


This game was a battle between two absolute beasts and appeared as if we may head to an extra frame for the second straight game, before Ondrej Palat silenced the fans at Ball Arena with his 11th of playoffs, and the go-ahead goal for the Bolts. 


Palat’s goal would be enough as the clock wound down on the opportunity for the Colorado faithful to see an early series wrap-up at home with many surely hoping the series doesn’t need to come back to Denver again. 


When asked postgame, many Avs players refused to comment on the refs, maintaining their focus on the task at hand. 


 “I'm not here to talk about the refs. We have to battle through that. It's playoffs. There's going to be discrepancies game to game with different people and it is what it is,” said Makar. 


The series now needs another with game six headed back to Amalie Arena in Tampa on Sunday night. 



1st Period

15:23 - TB Jan Rutta (1) 1-0


2nd Period 

5:07 - COL Valeri Nichushkin (9) 1-1

8:10 - TB Nikita Kucherov PPG (8) 2-1


3rd Period

2:31 - COL Cale Makar (8) 2-2

13:38 - TB Ondrej Palat (11) 3-2