Stanley Cup Final, Game 5 -- Avalanche lead series 3-1
Time: 8 p.m. ET
Venue: Ball Arena, Denver, CO
Where to watch: ABC
Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks
DraftKings: Avalanche -180, Lightning +155
BetMGM: Avalanche -175, Lightning +145
Monty Hale completed a strong 9-2-0 run over the last month in the NHL. Are you ready for the most highly anticipated Stanley Cup Final we’ve had in a long time? The two best teams over the past few seasons going at it. And you need to make sure you’re locked in at bigal.com for all of the analysis and thoughts on who will win between the Lightning and Avalanche. You need to be tuned in here to find out all the expert analysis. Catch Monty’s plays available right now at the Shop Picks page, where you can find all of the Best Bets from our champion sports handicappers.
Lightning - Avalanche preview and analysis
They're not knocked out until they're not knocked out, right? Coming back from 3-2 is one thing. To come back from 3-1? That's another thing entirely. And it might be coming to an end. The run of the Tampa Bay Lightning? Done. I'm calling it. Crown the Colorado Avalanche. It's time.
The Avalanche are one win to put 21-year-old demons to bed and be back atop the mountain. Somehow, someway, with all momentum seemingly on their side, the Lightning had a chance to push this series back to Colorado as a best-of-3. That's not happening because the narrative of the day is Nazem Kadri's return, and of course it is.
Kadri roofed the game-winning goal 12 minutes into overtime -- it got stuck at the top of the net, something Chicago Blackhawks fans know a little something about -- and no one really knew if it went in. It does, the Avalanche celebrate, and the thought starts to creep in. The Avs are a win away, and get a chance to do it on home ice.
Kadri, the All-Star center, missed four games following hand surgery and roofed the winning goal in a moment befitting him for all he's had to deal with this offeason.
"Sitting here right now it's kind of surreal," Kadri said. "I just was excited to join the team again and be in the dressing room. This is what has I've been working on my whole life pretty much, so it was certainly exciting to get back in the lineup."
Colorado trailed 1-0 and 2-1 in this game, but kept finding ways to get back. Nathan MacKinnon tied it at 1 on the power play, and Andrew Cogliano added one more in the third to tie it. But we can't forget the fact that Darcy Kuemper had to essentially outduel Andrei Vasilevskiy after getting pulled in Game 3. That, in itself, is incredible.
"It's cool, for sure, but we have to focus on how to get the next one," MacKinnon said. "Home ice has been a big thing for us all season, regular season and the playoffs. We'll use it. For sure, the fans are awesome right now. We'll come out fast and hopefully keep it that way."
But I'm not sure if it's the insane person in me that thinks this, but there's some inkling in me that thinks the Lightning can still win this series. It's like when Kobe Bryant was down 3-0 to the Dallas Mavericks in 2011 (the Mavs that went on to win the title, of course) and said he maybe thought he was "sick in the head" but still had a feeling they could win.
The Lakers went on to lose by a billion and the Mavs hit 20 threes in that game, so I digress. But still, you have to have hope with this team.
They're the two-time defending Stanley Cup champs. They've already been down 3-2 and 2-0 in different series'. Even against Colorado, you just have to think if they win Game 5, it goes back to Tampa for Game 6. You've already had that confidence that you can win in Denver, for what it's worth. And if Lightning fans have already tuned out by this point, I don't blame you.
"The feeling [stinks] right now, obviously, but the series wasn't won tonight," Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said. "We know what it feels like to be in their shoes and have a chance obviously to win at home. It's not an easy thing to do. It's a pretty nerve-wracking day.
"For us, our backs are against the wall. We've done it before in these playoffs. We're going to have to do it again."
Game 5 prediction
I have no idea what to think about this game, but I'm going to go with my gut over my heart. Tampa is in trouble. It's the 12th round. The challenger has the champ on the ropes, and with one large swing, the giant goes down. I'm on that cusp, and it's probably fair to think this. Colorado wins, Raymond Bourque's dream will come true again. Colorado wins the Cup, and we all get ready for next year. Avalanche win 4-2
Lightning are 96-36 off an under over the past three seasons.
Lightning are 9-6 off a home loss this season.
Lightning are 9-3 when trailing in a playoff series the last three seasons.
Avalanche are 2-2 in Game 5 over the past three seasons.
Avalanche are 17-6 when leading in a playoff series the past three seasons.
Avalanche are 25-6 after a road victory this season.
Ondrej Palat -- Steven Stamkos -- Nikita Kucherov
Brandon Hagel -- Anthony Cirelli -- Alex Killorn
Ross Colton -- Brayden Point -- Nicholas Paul
Pat Maroon -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare -- Corey Perry
Victor Hedman -- Jan Rutta
Ryan McDonagh -- Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev -- Zach Bogosian
Gabriel Landeskog -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Valeri Nichushkin
Nicolas Aube-Kubel -- J.T. Compher -- Mikko Rantanen
Alex Newhook -- Darren Helm -- Artturi Lehkonen
Andrew Cogliano -- Nico Sturm -- Logan O'Connor
Devon Toews -- Cale Makar
Jack Johnson -- Josh Manson
Bowen Byram -- Erik Johnson
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