Avalanche win Stanley Cup Final opener

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Andre Burakovsky has scored 1:23 into overtime to ensure the Colorado Avalanche opened the NHL's Stanley Cup Final series with a 4-3 victory over two-time defending champions Tampa Bay Lightning.

Burakovsky ended Wednesday night's match in Denver after the Avalanche failed to score on a power play that began late in regulation when three-time champion Patrick Maroon put the puck over the glass.

Burakovsky is one of only two Avalanche players who have won the Cup.

Game 2 is on Saturday night in Denver.

Game 1 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.

Colorado opened the scoring on captain Gabriel Landeskog's goal 40 seconds after Josh Manson's penalty expired. Manson - one of general manager Joe Sakic's expensive trade deadline pickups - more than made up for a holding the stick minor with some big hits.

The Avalanche's other deadline acquisition also kept up his knack for scoring key goals. Artturi Lehkonen had their third goal of the first period after Valeri Nichuskin scored the second as part of a dominant performance all over the ice.

Tampa Bay's latest additions also played a major role, with Nick Paul outracing Colorado defenseman Jack Johnson to a loose puck for a goal in the first that kept the defending champions in the game.

Brandon Hagel, who has been banged up and was a question mark to play, got beaten to a loose puck by Landeskog, an uncharacteristic goal for reigning playoff MVP Andrei Vasilevskiy to give up by letting the initial shot sneak through under his left arm.

In another example of what has made the Lightning the NHL's best team over the past three years, they turned the tide in the second period with goals by Ondrej Palat and Mikhail Sergachev 48 seconds apart.

The arena was rocking from the start of warmups for the first Stanley Cup Final game in the city since 2001 - also the last year the Avalanche won the Stanley Cup, with Sakic serving as captain.

Tampa Bay's most prolific goal-scorer from each of the past two title runs was back, with center Brayden Point returning to play his first game since injuring his right leg a month ago.

Colorado have a series lead despite playing without forwards Nazem Kadri (right thumb) and Andrew Cogliano (right hand), who were injured last series in a sweep of Edmonton in the Western Conference final.

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