German leads with Avalanche: NHL finals start with crime – and good for Sturm

Germany's Nico Sturm gets closer to winning the Stanley Cup in a crime thriller that sees his Colorado Avalanche leading the NHL Finals series.

German leads with Avalanche: NHL finals start with crime – and good for Sturm

Germany's Nico Sturm gets closer to winning the Stanley Cup in a crime thriller that sees his Colorado Avalanche leading the NHL Finals series. From the point of view of the Avalanche, game one goes into overtime unnecessarily, so it doesn't take long before the decision is made.

The Colorado Avalanche around Nico Sturm from Augsburg won the first game in the Stanley Cup finals against the defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning. The team from Denver got a 4:3 in overtime in their own hall. Austria's Andre Burakovsky scored for victory after 83 seconds. Sturm played seven and a half minutes as a relief player. He is the fifth German (after Uwe Krupp, Dennis Seidenberg, Tom Kühnhackl and Philipp Grubauer) to win the huge trophy. Sturm, who was born and educated in Augsburg and trained at Clarkson University in Potsdam/New York, has only been playing for the Avalanche for three months and is now one step closer to the legendary trophy.

"It feels great," Burakovsky said on US television. "We had a little nervous breakdown in the second period but I think we recovered in the third." In front of their own fans in Denver, the Avalanche were 2-0 up after less than ten minutes and seemed to have everything under control. Artturi Lehkonen countered Nicholas Paul's goal to make it 3:1 - but 48 seconds in the second period were enough for the Lightning to equalize. Ondrej Palat scored the first goal with his ninth goal of the playoffs, Mikhail Sergachev equalized less than a minute later. It was one of the fastest braces ever in game one of a finals series.

After a goalless final third, Burakovsky then struck and decided the thriller after about a minute of extra time. The Avalanche, who won their last Stanley Cup in 2001, are favorites in the Finals series. They lived up to that position in their first Stanley Cup game in front of their home crowd in more than two decades, even if the result was so close. "The Avalanche were clearly the better team in game one. It's as simple as that," analyzed broadcaster CBS. Of course, "the Lightning are a resilient team - you don't win two Stanley Cups in a row without that trait - but they need a much better performance in Game 2." After a spectacular game, the US media is already rejoicing that "this final can become an unforgettable series," as NBC broadcaster commented on the game.

Andrej Wassilewski in goal of the Lightning had a strong evening and parried several big chances. In the end he had 34 shots saved - but then he was powerless when Burakovsky scored after a counterattack. Whenever the Avalanche have played for the Stanley Cup, the team has won the title and is now aiming for a third championship. The last title was in 2001. After the championships in 2020 and 2021, the Lightning are in the finals for the third time in a row. That was last four decades ago. Overall, the Lightning are hoping for the fourth title in their history.

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