The Colorado Avalanche host the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final on Friday night at Ball Arena, with the Avs 60 minutes away from hoisting the Cup for the first time in 21 years. Stick here for live updates leading up to and during the game. Refresh to see our latest analysis.
PK does the job … again (6:39 p.m.): The Avs’ penalty kill is so good right now it’s generating better shots than the Lightning power play. — Matt Schubert
First TV timeout (6:31 p.m.) : Avs killed off J.T. Compher’s high-sticking minor and shots are 3-3. Tampa Bay wasn’t dangerous on the power play. That’s a great kill because the power plays won’t be lopsided in this game and the Avs will get theirs. Colorado is back to a top-six forward group that it’s had most of the postseason. MacKinnon between Landeskog and Nichushkin and wingers Lehkonen and Rantanen with Kadri. In Game 4, the Avs mixed those guys up at the beginning. — Mike Chambers
Penalty killers (6:27 p.m.): Following a familiar theme from throughout the series, the Avs penalty kill had little trouble taking care of a Tampa Bay power play, allowing just one shot on goal. Colorado special teams have been magnificent throughout the Cup Final, and a major reason why the Avs are so close to lifting the Cup. The Avs penalty kill is now 14 for 15 in the Cup Final. — Matt Schubert
Game 5 predictions
Mike Chambers, Avalanche beat writer: I have the Avs winning their first playoff series at home since 2008 and hoisting the Stanley Cup for the first time since 2001. It’s cold in here. It wasn’t cold at Amalie Arena, where the ice deteriorated quickly from the humidity. The Ball Arena ice is in much better shape and Colorado has the fastest team in hockey. The Avs win big in what will be a chippy game early. Let’s say 4-1.
Ryan O’Halloran, sports reporter: Avalanche 4, Lightning 1. Tampa Bay lost its first Cup-clinching games the last two years against Dallas and Montreal, so the Lightning will play hard tonight. But it blew its chance at this series in Game 4 when it couldn’t hold 1-0 and 2-1 leads and then was 10 steps slower than the Avs in overtime. Gabe Landeskog, you have an appointment with commissioner Gary Bettman to receive the Stanley Cup in a few hours.
Mark Kiszla, sports columnist: Lightning 4, Avalanche 2. If nothing is harder in North American team sports than winning the Stanley Cup, nothing is harder in the NHL playoffs than winning Game No. 16 to hoist the trophy. Of course, I could be wrong. In fact, I’ve predicted every single individual game of this series incorrectly. You can thank me during the postgame celebration, Avalanche fans.
Sean Keeler, sports columnist: Avalanche 4, Tampa Bay 3, OT. Big Val Nichushkin gets the Ball Arena crowd rocking with another first-period goal. Gabe Landeskog’s scrappy tip past Andrei Vasilevskiy in overtime ends it late, sending Denver into a party mode that’s been decades in the making.
Kyle Fredrickson, sports reporter: Avalanche 2, Lightning 1. Avs defenseman Cale Makar cements his forever status as a Colorado sports legend with the go-ahead goal in the third period. Credit Darcy Kuemper with a stellar performance in net holding Tampa Bay to one goal.
Seen and heard (6:06 p.m.) Some 40 minutes before the puck drop, spotted a pedicab driver deliver his load to Chopper Circle, then dismount quickly for a quick stretch of the legs. “How much busier are you tonight compared to Games 1 and 2?” I asked. He smiled. “A million times more. Easily.” His rate? $30, one-way, to or from, Larimer Square. Same charge as last week. — Sean Keeler
(5:44 p.m.) Darcy Kuemper led Colorado out for warmup and winger Andre Burakovsky (hand/wrist) is not skating. So it appears the Avs will go with the same lineup from Game 4. Line chart forthcoming. — Mike Chambers
“This is legendary.” (5:30 p.m.): Crowds outside Ball Arena began to grow with about an hour until puck drop despite light rain falling in Denver. AJ Endres, a 36-year-old Northern Colorado resident in a Gabe Landeskog jersey, walked inside the doors carrying a homemade Stanley Cup.
“I’m hoping that they’ll bring home the real thing tonight,” Endres said.
The makeshift trophy stands about three feet tall and is made from an empty five-gallon water jug, a few cheap party bowls, a handful of screws and silver spray paint. Endres pasted on the years 1995-96, 2000-01 and 2021-22 (with a question mark). Plus an Avalanche sticker for extra style points.
“This is legendary,” Endres said. “I am beyond excited. I’ve been jittery and nervous all day. I can’t wait to get in there and see what happens tonight. I play hockey and I’ve been a fan of the Avalanche since they moved here back in ’95. Lived through both of our Cups back in the day. Twenty-one years is a long time.” — Kyle Fredrickson
Joe Sakic sighting (5:24 p.m.). I was on the phone with my son outside the press-box elevators when one of them opened and Super Joe was inside. His stop wasn’t on that floor but we waved at each other and the door closed. That brought me back to 21 years ago. I covered Game 7 of the SCF behind seats on the main concourse at what then was called the Pepsi Center. I was like the third or fourth reporter working that night and I was moved to the auxiliary area. It was a great spot! Memories of the final seconds of the third period, the sensational environment and Super Joe accepting the Cup from commissioner Gary Bettman and immediately handing it off to Ray Bourque was an unreal experience. Will Super Joe hoist the Cup for the third time tonight? — Mike Chambers
Championship duds (5:14 p.m.): Pictures of dudes in suits, because we know what the people want. — Matt Schubert
Few teams can relate to Avalanche’s one-win-from-Cup situation, but the Lightning can
Few teams can relate to the situation presented to the Avalanche on Friday night, needing to grind out one more win to hoist the Stanley Cup.
The Lightning can.
And few coaches can relate to the situation the Avs’ Jared Bednar is in, needing to construct one more game plan to see his players celebrating on the ice.
Jon Cooper can. — Ryan O’Halloran
Read more from Ryan O’Halloran.
Avalanche Game 5: Three key forwards skip morning skate
Avalanche forwards Nathan MacKinnon, Nazem Kadri and Gabe Landeskog did not participate in Friday’s morning skate ahead of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final. But Avs coach Jared Bednar said they were each taking maintenance — meaning they are preparing in other ways and should be in the lineup against the Tampa Bay Lightning. — Mike Chambers
Read more from Mike Chambers.
Stanley Cup Finals, Game 5: Must reads
Analysis: Darcy Kuemper’s bounce-back effort helps put team one win from Stanley Cup
Darcy Kuemper, stopper of Tampa Bay Lightning shots.
And Darcy Kuemper, offensive catalyst?
After he stopped 37 shots in Wednesday’s Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, Kuemper received the secondary assist on Nazem Kadri’s overtime goal, capping his night of redemption. — Ryan O’Halloran
Read more from Ryan O’Halloran.
Keeler: Nathan MacKinnon, Andrew Cogliano, Avalanche made their own “luck” vs. Tampa Bay in Game 4. No matter what Lightning fans say.
Luck had nothing to do with Nathan MacKinnon getting himself enough space to park like a Rolls Royce on Andrei Vasilevskiy’s stick side, the heel to our deified Tampa Bay goalie’s Achilles.
Luck was on a coffee break when Andrew Cogliano, 177 pounds of pure guts, 5-foot-10 with 6-5 spunk, refused to budge from the crease, even though the Avalanche forward had Lightning defender Jan Rutta — all 6-2, 211 pounds of him — draped all over his back. — Sean Keeler
Read more from Sean Keeler.
Stanley Cup Final Game 5 debate: Which Avalanche player should win the Conn Smythe Trophy for playoff MVP?
Who should be named the playoff MVP if the Avalanche happen to win Friday night? With so many good options, this is no easy choice. Read more from The Post’s sports staff.
More Stanley Cup Final coverage
- Avalanche-Lightning Game 5 betting guide: Odds breakdown, Conn Smythe favorites and props bets to consider
- Avalanche-Lightning Game 5 secondary ticket market booming with chance to win Stanley Cup
- Stanley Cup Final, Game 5: Five things to watch when Avalanche faces Lightning
- Avalanche coach Jared Bednar on Lightning’s gripe with Game 4 winning goal: “I don’t see it as a break, a non-break, I think it’s actually nothing”
- With Denver on the brink of first pro championship since 2016, police ask Avalanche fans not to celebrate too hard
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