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    Andre Burakovsky scored 1:23 into overtime and the Colorado Avalanche opened the Stanley Cup Final with a 4-3 victory over the two-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night. Burakovsky ended it after the Avalanche failed to score on a power play that began late in regulation when three-time champ Patrick Maroon put the puck over the glass. Burakovsky is one of only two Avalanche players who have won the Cup. The game likely wouldn’t have even reached OT if not for big penalty kills by the Avalanche, who were 3 for 3 against Tampa Bay’s potent power play. The final kill featured a crucial save by goaltender Darcy Kuemper and a series of clears by Norris Trophy finalist defenseman Cale Makar.

      The Stanley Cup Final is a showdown between the two-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning and the high-scoring Colorado Avalanche. Colorado is averaging a playoff high 4.61 goals a game. Tampa Bay's 2.41 goals against is the lowest of any team that made it past the first round. The Lightning know from prior postseason runs how to adjust their style of play for their opponent. This series is another test of containing a team that can fly up and down the ice and fill the net.

        Ondrej Palat scored on a deflection with 1:50 remaining to break a tie and lead the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 3-1 victory over the New York Rangers on Thursday night for a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference final. Mikhail Sergachev and Brandon Hagel also scored to help the two-time defending champion Lightning get their third straight win, the first by a road team in this series. Andre Vasilevskiy stopped 24 shots. Ryan Lindgren scored for New York, which had won eight straight at home. Igor Shesterkin finished with 24 saves. Game 6 is Saturday night in Tampa, Florida.

          Nikita Kucherov scored on a breakaway and Andrei Vasilevskiy had 33 saves , helping the Tampa Bay Lightning shut down the New York Rangers 4-1 and even the NHL’s Eastern Conference final at two games apiece. Kucherov took a pass from Ondrej Palat in the middle of the ice and skated in on goaltender Igor Shesterkin to give the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions a two-goal lead just over 13 minutes into the second period. Palat, Pat Maroon and Steven Stamkos also scored for the Lightning, who have rebounded from losing the first two games of the series on the road to keep their bid to become the first team in nearly 40 years to win three consecutive Stanley Cup titles alive. Game 5 is Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.

          Artturi Lehkonen scored 1:19 into overtime, and Colorado rallied to beat the Edmonton Oilers 6-5 Monday night, completing a four-game sweep in the Western Conference final and sending the Avalanche to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2001. Colorado will take on the winner of the Eastern Conference final between the New York Rangers and two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning. Cale Makar, Devon Toews Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen also scored for Colorado. Pavel Francouz stopped 30 of 35 shots. Zach Hyman scored twice for the Oilers. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Connor McDavid and Zack Kassian also scored for Edmonton. Leon Draisaitl had four assists and goalie Mike Smith finished with 36 saves.

          Ondrej Palat scored with 42 seconds left and the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning beat the New York Rangers 3-2 on Sunday to cut their deficit in the Eastern Conference finals to 2-1. Palat’s goal, off a nifty pass from Nikita Kucherov, capped a comeback that began after Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider scored power-play goals in a span of just over two minutes in the second period to put the Rangers up 2-0. Facing the prospect of falling behind 3-0, the Lightning rallied with Kucherov scoring on the power play in the second period and Steven Stamkos tying it early in the third. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 28 saves for the Lightning. Game 4 is Tuesday night in Tampa,

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          KEARNEY — Tri-City Storm forward Ilya Nikolaev has been named the USHL’s Forward of the week for the first time in his career following the Conference Semifinals Round of the Clark Cup Playoffs.

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