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Avalanche down Lightning, win Stanley Cup

Jun 26, 2022; Tampa, Florida, USA; Colorado Avalanche left wing Artturi Lehkonen (62) shoots the puck against Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (77) during the second period in game six of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Artturi Lehkonen scored the go-ahead goal in the second period to help the Colorado Avalanche win their third Stanley Cup title in franchise history, courtesy of a 2-1 victory over the host Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 on Sunday.

Colorado, which also won the title in 1996 and 2001, denied Tampa Bay’s bid of completing a three-peat as Stanley Cup champion.

Nathan MacKinnon collected a goal and an assist and Darcy Kuemper made 22 saves for the Avalanche, who set a franchise record with nine road wins in a playoff year. Six clubs share the NHL record of 10 road victories.

Captain Steven Stamkos scored and Andrei Vasilevskiy turned aside 28 shots for the Lightning, who were trying to become the seventh team to force a Game 7 after trailing 3-1 in a best-of-seven Cup final.

Colorado’s Cale Makar won the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the playoffs.

Lehkonen, who hit the post late in the first period, gave Colorado a 2-1 lead with 7:32 remaining in the second. The puck banked off the leg of Tampa Bay defenseman Zach Bogosian and right to Lehkonen, who sent a shot over the glove of Vasilevskiy for his eighth goal of the playoffs.

Tampa Bay scored the first goal for the third straight game after converting a turnover at 3:48 of the first period. The puck caromed off the skate of Ondrej Palat and right to Stamkos, who sent a shot between the pads of Kuemper for his team co-leading 11th goal of the playoffs and second in the finals.

Vasilevskiy preserved the slim advantage in the first period after denying a point-blank chance Nazem Kadri before receiving help from the post on Lehkonen’s shot from in front.

The Avalanche successfully answered 1:54 into the second period after MacKinnon wired a shot from deep in the left circle that banked off Vasilevskiy’s blocker and into the net. MacKinnon’s goal was his NHL co-leading 13th of the postseason, tying him with Edmonton’s Evander Kane.

–Field Level Media