Posts Tagged ‘Game 1’

 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.

An earlier kill built momentum for Colorado, which 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 limited the damage and kept the defending champs 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. That set the stage for the first of what should be many fantastic finishes in a series between evenly matched opponents.

The arena was rocking from the start of warmups for the first Stanley Cup Final game in the city in 2001 — also the last year the Avalanche won the Stanley Cup, with Sakic serving as captain. Fans chanted, “We want the Cup!” throughout the leadup and at times during the game, which was a showcase of the high-scoring hockey that has been the standard all season.

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 has 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.

The Avalanche swept Nashville in the first round, as well, and dispatched rival St. Louis in six before taking out Connor McDavid and the Oilers. If anything, Game 1 against the Lightning showed this series won’t be easy for either team.

Jaylen Brown and Al Horford combined for 50 points as the Boston Celtics mounted a fierce fourth-quarter rally to stun the Golden State Warriors 120-108 in Game 1 of The Finals.

The loss is Golden State’s first defeat at home this postseason.

After entering the final frame down 12, the Celtics outscored the Warriors 40-16 in the fourth to draw first blood in the championship series. Horford collected 11 of his 26 points in the contest within the last five-and-a-half minutes of the game.

Star guard Stephen Curry finished with 34 points after registering 21 points in the opening frame. His six 3-pointers in the first quarter established an NBA record for the most threes ever converted in a single frame in The Finals.

Filip Chytil has found his scoring touch and it’s helping the New York Rangers get on quite a roll.

Chytil scored twice in the second period and the Rangers routed the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning 6-2 on Wednesday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals.

After scoring eight goals in 67 games during the regular season, the 22-year-old center has seven in 15 playoff games — including five goals in the last three.

“I was working hard for the whole season,” Chytil said. “There were tough moments, so many chances but I couldn’t put it in the net. … When you’re not putting pucks to the net you’re not helping the team that much and maybe start to be a little frustrated. But now it’s finally going in, I am so happy I can help the team like this in winning the games.”

Mika Zibanejad, Artemi Panarin and Frank Vatrano each had a goal and an assist, Chris Kreider also scored and Alexis Lafrenière and Adam Fox each had two assists to help New York win its franchise-record seventh straight home playoff game. Igor Shesterkin stopped 37 shots to improve to 8-3 in the last 11 games.

The Rangers have totaled 17 goals while winning their last three games after scoring nine over the previous five.

“There was a lot of sharpness,” Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said. “Obviously, (the Lightning) were a little bit rusty tonight, they weren’t the same after nine days off. … Our game’s good, we’re playing well, we’re doing the right things now. We just got to continue to do that.”

Steven Stamkos had a goal and an assist, and Ondrej Palat also scored for Tampa Bay, which had won six straight and was playing for the first time since completing its second-round sweep of Florida on May 23. Andrei Vasilevskiy, who gave up just three goals in four games against the Panthers, had 28 saves.

“You’ve got to give them credit. They are a really good hockey team,” Stamkos said. “We certainly didn’t have our best. I think we know what we have to do better. Been in this position before. I am confident we will have a better effort next game. It’s Game 1 of a long series.”

Game 2 is Friday night at Madison Square Garden.

The score was tied 1-1 after 20 minutes before the Rangers took control in the second period.

Vatrano gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead at 7:50 of the second as he fired a shot from the left circle past Vasilevskiy high on the blocker side for his fourth of the postseason.

Palat tied it at 8:32, backhanding the rebound of a shot by Stamkos past Shesterkin for his fifth of the playoffs.

The Rangers regained the lead 1:19 later. Kaapo Kakko brought the puck from behind the Lightning net to the goalie’s right and sent a pass to Chytil in slot that he fired past Vasilevskiy. It marked the third straight game Chytil scored.

Chytil made it 4-2 with 4:17 left as he got a cross-ice pass from K’Andre Miller and fired a one-timer past Vasilevskiy for his seventh of the postseason — and fifth in three games.

Panarin got a cross-ice pass from Andrew Copp in the left circle on a 2-on-1 and fired it past Vasilevskiy to give the Rangers a three-goal lead 30 seconds into the third. It was his fifth of the playoffs.

Less than two minutes later, Shesterkin made two big saves during a Lightning power play, and was down on the ice for several minutes after getting hit in the head by Stamkos after the second save.

Zibanejad made it 6-2 at 6:06 after extended time in the offensive zone on a power play, firing a one-timer from the left circle off a pass from Panarin for his eighth of the playoffs. It gave the Rangers a goal with the man advantage for the sixth straight game, tying a franchise playoff record, previously accomplished in 1986 and 1990.

“You just try to be ready for any pass,” Zibanejad said. “It worked out today, so it’s good. Biggest thing was it went in.”

With much of the focus coming into this series centered on the goalies, the Madison Square Garden crowd began chants of “I-gor’s bet-ter! I-gor’s bet-ter!” midway through the third period.

“They played a good game,” Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman said. “They are rolling. We expected that … You never want to lose two in a row. To bounce back is going to be huge.”

Tempers flared with less than two minutes remaining as several skirmishes broke out in one corner. Ten players received penalties — including two on the Rangers’ Barclay Goodrow — to put Tampa Bay on a power play to finish the game.

Kreider got the Rangers on the scoreboard first 1:11 into the game on the game’s first shot on goal, scoring off a cross-ice pass from Zibanejad on a 2-on-1 from the inside edge of the left circle for his ninth goal of the postseason.

Stamkos tied it at 7:19 as he fired a slap shot from the high slot just under the crossbar for his fifth of the playoffs.

STATS

Zibanejad extended his points streak to six games with five goals and five assists in the stretch. … The Rangers have scored six goals in consecutive playoff games for the first time since their Cup-winning run in 1994.

CLIMBING LISTS

Kreider has 51 postseason points, tying Walt Tkaczuk for the fifth place in New York franchise history. His 33rd postseason goal moved one behind Rod Gilbert for the most in franchise history.

J.T. Compher scored twice, Cale Makar had a goal and two assists and the Colorado Avalanche held off the Edmonton Oilers 8-6 on Tuesday night in a fast-paced, no-lead-felt-safe Game 1 of the Western Conference Final.

The Avalanche’s eight goals were tied for the most in a playoff game in franchise history.

Even Colorado’s four-goal lead in the second period hardly felt secure in a matchup between the two highest-scoring teams in the postseason — and the win wasn’t in hand until Gabriel Landeskog’s empty-net goal with 21.4 seconds remaining.

Not only were there goals galore, but both teams needed to use backup goaltenders in: Mike Smith was pulled after giving up six goals and Darcy Kuemper left with an upper-body injury.

This was a matchup billed as a showdown between stars Nathan MacKinnon and Connor McDavid and they delivered. MacKinnon had a goal and an assist for Colorado, and McDavid a goal and two assists for Edmonton.

But it was the supporting casts that produced big time.

Nazem Kadri, Mikko Rantanen and Andrew Cogliano also scored for the Avalanche, who have a 19-6 series record when taking the first game of a best-of-seven since relocating to Denver. Twelve Avs recorded at least a point and six had multi-point games.

Evander Kane, Zach Hyman, Ryan McLeod, Derek Ryan and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins added goals for the Oilers. Hyman has scored in six straight postseason games to tie the team mark set by Esa Tikkanen in the 1990 playoffs.

Edmonton and Colorado scored six times over a 6:43 span — nearly a goal a minute. And the opening two periods saw 11 total goals. At times, this looked more like an All-Star Game — lots of scoring and defense being optional — rather than a conference final.

Game 2 is Thursday.

Edmonton’s no stranger to dropping the first game of a series in high-scoring fashion: The Oilers lost Game 1 of the second-round series at Calgary 9-6 but won the series in five games.

Compher’s second goal of the night made it 6-3 and ended the night of Smith, who allowed six goals on 25 shots in just over 26 minutes. Mikko Koskinen came on in relief.

Kuemper left the game in the second period as well, after surrendering three goals on 16 shots. He was replaced by Pavel Francouz.

After Cogliano’s goal gave Colorado a 7-3 lead late in the second, it looked like the game might be in hand. But by 7:24 left in the third, Edmonton made it 7-6 on Nugent-Hopkins’ power-play goal.

The Oilers pulled Koskinen with under two minutes remaining but couldn’t score despite a wave of chances.

“Definitely have some things to clean up but happy we got the win,” MacKinnon said.

DAD OR GRANDPA?

Oilers assistant coach Dave Manson went over to visit his granddaughter after practice Monday. Oh, and his son, too — Avalanche defenseman Josh Manson.

“They played a bunch and she was all over them. So it was great,” the defenseman said. “Made me happy, too.”

Given the family rivalry, Manson was asked what side his two-year-old daughter was picking.

“She does love her grandpa,” Manson said. “She better be pulling for me.”

BARRIE’S TAKE

Edmonton defenseman Tyson Barrie skated with Makar in the 2019 playoffs as part of the Avs and instantly realized Makar’s potential.

“I knew I was in trouble right when I got on the ice with (Makar) the first time,” said Barrie, who later traded to Toronto in a deal that landed Kadri in Denver. “I thought, ‘I might be out of here.’ He was exceptional.”

ELWAY APPEARANCE

Hall of Fame QB John Elway joined Wayne Gretzky and the crew on TNT’s pregame show. Elway praised the work of Joe Sakic, the Avs’ Hall of Fame player who is now their GM.

Elway won two Super Bowls as a player for the Broncos and another as an executive. Sakic captured two Stanley Cup titles as an Avalanche player and is trying to deliver another calling the shots from the front office.

“I’ve got so much respect for Joe,” Elway said. “When he first started we had some conversations. And then things weren’t going very well, he says, ‘Why’d you ever get me into this?’ But he’s come back and he’s done a heck of a job.”

Game 1 of the Battle of Alberta lived up to the hype – and more.

The Calgary Flames won a 9-6 barn burner over the Edmonton Oilers in the opening contest of Round 2 between the provincial rivals Wednesday.

The 15 combined goals are the most in a Stanley Cup Playoff game since 1993 and three shy of tying the all-time record of 18. It’s only the ninth contest in postseason history with at least 15 goals.

GAME RESULTYEARGOALS
Kings def. Oilers 10-8198218
Penguins def. Flyers 10-7198917
Oilers def. Kings 13-3198716
Kings def. Flames 12-4199016
Blackhawks def. Habs 8-7197315
North Stars def. Bruins 9-6198115
Oilers def. Blackhawks 10-5198515
Kings def. Flames 9-6199315
Flames def. Oilers 9-6202215

The Flames are also the first team to score nine goals in a playoff game since the Pittsburgh Penguins scored 10 against the Philadelphia Flyers in 2012. The Oilers own the record with 13 in 1987.

The game initially looked like it was going to be a blowout for Calgary. The Flames owned leads of 5-1 and 6-2 before the Oilers stormed back to eventually tie it at 6-6. Calgary then scored three unanswered goals to put the contest away.

“There were probably six different games out there,” Flames head coach Darryl Sutter said postgame, according to Sportsnet’s Eric Francis.

“We were told it was a boring series last time, so I told the players yesterday we’ve got to score seven-to-10 goals today because they’d probably score five-to-eight to win, so that’s what we did,” Sutter added.

In fact, the Flames scored more goals on Wednesday against Edmonton than they did in their first four games combined in Round 1 against the Dallas Stars.

Matthew Tkachuk led the way offensively for Calgary, completing his hat trick with an empty-netter. Blake Coleman also potted two goals, while Andrew MangiapaneRasmus Andersson, and Johnny Gaudreau recorded three points apiece.

Connor McDavid‘s four points and Leon Draisaitl‘s three led the way offensively for the Oilers. Zach Hyman also chipped in with a pair of tallies.

Sebastian Aho extended the game. Ian Cole ended it. And that allowed the Carolina Hurricanes to escape their first home loss of the playoffs despite being completely outplayed most of the night.

Cole beat Igor Shesterkin at 3:12 of overtime to help the Hurricanes beat the New York Rangers 2-1 Wednesday night, making a late rally to win Game 1 of their second-round playoff series.

Aho had forced the extra period when he pushed one past Shesterkin late in the third period in a dramatic finish. Yet it overshadowed the fact that the Metropolitan Division winners were fortunate to win after the Rangers controlled the first 40 minutes.

“Kudos to our guys, they got it going in, it certainly was a good third period,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “We’re not going to get away with that, not playing two periods and expect to win a game — especially at this time of year against that team.”

The Hurricanes won home-ice by securing the division title with a win against the Rangers in Madison Square Garden in the final week of the regular season. They nearly handed it over but instead will seek a sixth straight win here when they host Game 2 on Friday night.

Cole’s rebound winner clipped the stick of Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren, with the puck changing direction before slipping past Shesterkin.

“I was looking to pass it to someone,” Cole said. “And no one was really kind of anywhere dangerous. So I was like, ‘Well, I guess I’ll throw it on net and see what happens.’”

“Hockey’s a game of weird bounces and it happened to go in. Not the prettiest, but we’ll take it.”

The score capped Carolina’s late comeback, which began with the Hurricanes showing more urgency and aggression coming out of the second intermission.

Carolina also got a key effort from Antti Raanta, who had 27 saves and helped the Hurricanes hang around until their attack finally took its familiar form.

“They put a big push on in the third period in the first 10 minutes, and we weathered that storm,” Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said. “But the first two periods was perfect hockey for us. … I thought it was our best game of the year, I really did.”

Filip Chytil scored the first-period goal for the Rangers, while Shesterkin finished with 24 saves.

Both teams advanced through grueling seven-game first-round series, first with Carolina finally getting past Boston on Saturday followed by New York rallying past Pittsburgh in overtime a day later.

The Hurricanes never trailed in that series nor in their four home wins. The Rangers had to rally from a 3-1 series deficit, which included Shesterkin — finalist for the Vezina Trophy for league’s top goalie and Hart Trophy for league MVP — bouncing back from surrendering 10 goals in Games 3 and 4.

Yet when this one started, it was the Hurricanes who looked a step slow while the Rangers gave up few quality chances. New York was also opportunistic at the perfect moment early.

As defenseman Tony DeAngelo tried to send the puck back to teammate Jaccob Slavin for a reset, Rangers forward Alexis Lafrenière stole the pass to lead a 3-on-2 rush. Lafrenière passed to Chytil, who one-timed the puck from the right side past the extended stick of Slavin and Raanta at 7:07 of the first.

That lone-goal lead held up for more than 50 minutes. It helped too that the Hurricanes twice pinged the crossbar in the third, first on a breakaway by Nino Niederreiter and later from Aho in what appeared to be confirmation that it wasn’t their night.

Instead, Aho followed by taking a feed from rookie Seth Jarvis and then going to his backhand side. Shesterkin made the initial stop, but Aho knocked the rebound across for the tying score with 2:23 left and set up Cole’s winner.

“We wanted to win but we get a chance again on Friday to try to get the split and go home,” center Mika Zibanejad said.

STOPPED SKID

Carolina stopped a three-game home losing streak in the second round of the playoffs. They lost all three games despite having home-ice advantage in a five-game series loss to eventual two-time champion Tampa Bay last year.

POSTSEASON WORK

Both of Chytil’s postseason goals have come in the last four games as the Rangers erased their first-round series deficit and advanced. Lafrenière has three assists in his first postseason.

Carolina’s Teuvo Teravainen assisted on Aho’s tying goal for his sixth helper of the playoffs, while Jarvis also posted his third assist.

Once Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson slowed down, caught their breath and stopped rushing shots, the Splash Brothers got on a roll that proved too much for Dallas to stop.

Especially because Andrew Wiggins worked end to end to make sure Luka Doncic couldn’t get going.

Curry had 21 points and a game-high 12 rebounds, Golden State held Doncic in check and the Warriors beat the Mavericks 112-87 on Wednesday night for a 1-0 lead in the Western Conference finals.

“Just make him work, that was the main thing,” Wiggins said.

Doncic scored 20 points but shot just 6 for 18 and 3 of 10 from deep. He made back-to-back 3-pointers late in the first half to get his team within 54-45 at the break, but Curry and Thompson heated up and helped the Warriors pull away in the second half.

“A great job. That’s it,” Doncic said. “They did a great job.”

Jalen Brunson scored 14 points but missed all five of his 3s for the surprising Mavs, who stunned the top-seeded Suns in a 123-90 thumping in Game 7 on Sunday in Phoenix.

Game 2 in the best-of-seven series is Friday night at Chase Center, where the raucous, yellow-clad sellout crowd brought back memories of that 2007 “We Believe” Warriors playoff team led by Baron Davis that shocked the No. 1-seeded Mavericks in a six-game first-round upset at Oracle Arena.

That helped propel Golden State back to prominence. The Warriors reached five straight NBA Finals from 2015-19 but missed the playoffs the past two years before this run.

Wiggins added 19 points, getting Golden State going by making six of his first eight shots on the way to shooting 8 for 17. Jordan Poole also scored 19 off the bench.

Doncic received a scratch across his face early from a first-quarter swipe by Wiggins. The mark — “makes me look tough,” he quipped — went from the bridge of the star guard’s nose across his right cheek under the eye. Doncic also tugged at his troublesome right shoulder that has been taped previously during these playoffs.

“They did a really good job. Wiggins picking him up full court,” Mavs coach Jason Kidd said. “They went box-and-one, they went zone. We understood coming into the series that we were going to see that. We’ll go back and look at the video and see what we can do better.”

Stopping Doncic, who was averaging 31.5 points in the playoffs, is the tall task this time after the Warriors already handled two-time reigning MVP Nikola Jokic of Denver in the first round, then Ja Morant early last series before his knee injury.

“I thought Wiggs was fantastic,” coach Steve Kerr said. “Doncic is as difficult a cover as there is in this league. … It’s important to make him work. He’s so good. Any great player in the league you’re trying to limit the damage that they do.”

Curry hit two quick 3s in sparking a 10-2 burst to begin the third for a Golden State squad that eliminated Memphis in a six-game semifinal series. Thompson scored all of his 15 points after halftime.

“I didn’t have a field goal in the first half but that will never discourage me,” Thompson said. “I will always hunt my shot.”

Curry, last season’s scoring champ, missed his initial five 3-point tries before connecting with 50 seconds left in the first half. But he got involved other ways by dishing out four assists and grabbing seven rebounds in the first half.

The last time he led the Warriors in rebounding in a playoff game was Game 3 at Toronto in 2019, when he had eight.

Kevon Looney remained in the starting lineup for Kerr as the coach made his return to the bench after sitting out the final three games against Memphis with COVID-19.

“It was great to be back. I missed being out there with the guys,” Kerr said. “Amazing atmosphere here at Chase and we’re excited to keep going.”

Looney finished with 10 points, five rebounds and four assists after coming in to start the Game 6 clincher against the Grizzlies.

Kidd’s Mavericks couldn’t keep up in a drastic contrast of styles featuring the slow-paced Dallas attack and up-tempo Warriors.

“We would like to play our pace but the Warriors have a unique pace, they’re going to get out and put a lot of pressure on your defense in transition,” Kidd said. “We have to be cautious of that. We don’t want a track meet.”

MAVS FINED

Dallas received a $50,000 fine by the NBA — the team’s second penalty this postseason — for “team bench decorum” during the Suns series after players and a member of the coaching staff remained standing for extended time far enough from the bench area that they were “encroaching upon the playing court during game action” during Game 7 against the Suns.

“Just trying to figure out what we did wrong to get the fine,” Kidd said. “… Who complained? It was a blowout so I don’t think the fans were complaining. I thought the guys did what they were supposed to do. They were cheering on their guys.”

The previous fine against the Mavs was for $25,000 on May 6.

TIP-INS

Mavericks: Reggie Bullock shot just 4 for 12 — 3 of 10 from long range — for 12 points. Dallas was 11 of 48 behind the arc. … The Mavericks were outrebounded 28-18 in the first half as Curry led all players with seven.

Warriors: F Otto Porter Jr. returned after missing Game 6 with soreness in his right foot and contributed 10 points and six rebounds in 23 minutes, one of seven Warriors to score in double figures. … Golden State, which averaged 19.2 turnovers per game last series, had six in the first half leading to 11 Dallas points and 15 overall. … Golden State improved to 7-0 at home this postseason. … The Warriors are 21-2 in Game 1s since their 2015 title run that ended with the franchise’s first championship in 40 years. …

His team was down by eight at halftime, and Miami coach Erik Spoelstra went into the locker room ready to deliver a big speech.

Turns out, one wasn’t needed.

Jimmy Butler decided to let his play do the talking.

Butler scored 27 of his 41 points in the second half, and a huge third quarter by the Heat carried them to a 118-107 win over the short-handed Boston Celtics 118-107 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals on Tuesday night.

“Jimmy Butler is an elite competitor,” Spoelstra said. “There’s a lot of guys in this league that are playing basketball. He’s competing to win. That’s a totally different thing and he does that as well as anybody in this league.”

Tyler Herro scored 18 and Gabe Vincent added 17 for the Heat, who outscored Boston 39-14 in the third quarter. Butler had 17 alone in the third, outscoring the Celtics by himself over those 12 minutes.

Boston shot 2 for 15 in that third quarter.

“We won three quarters other than that, but obviously that one is going to stand out,” Celtics coach Ime Udoka said. “We semi-bounced back in the fourth and started to play well again and matched their physicality, but 39-14 on 2-for-15 is tough to overcome.”

Along with the 41 points, the rest of Butler’s line: Nine rebounds, five assists, four steals, and three blocked shots. Since the NBA started charting all those stat categories, only five other players — Anthony Davis, Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and James Harden (who did it twice) — had all those numbers in a single game. None happened in a playoff game, until now.

“I continued to play basketball the right way: Shoot the ball when I’m open, attack, hit the open guy,” Butler said. “Honestly, it was a team effort.”

Max Strus scored 11 and Bam Adebayo added 10 for Miami.

Jayson Tatum scored 29 for the Celtics, who were without starters Marcus Smart (foot) and Al Horford (health and safety protocols). Jaylen Brown added 24 for Boston, which got 18 apiece from Robert Williams III and Payton Pritchard.

Game 2 is Thursday.

Boston led by 13 in the first half and took a 62-54 lead into halftime. A 22-2 run was how Miami started the second half, the run punctuated by steals that led to baskets on three consecutive possessions. Strus had one, the next two by Butler pushed the lead out to 76-64, and the Heat were off and running.

“It wasn’t anything different that they did,” Udoka said. “They just came out and imposed their will.”

The lead reached 96-76 when Herro was fouled on a 3-point try and made all three free throws early in the fourth.

Boston had a run left; a 10-0 spurt cut the deficit in half, and a 3-pointer from Tatum made it a nine-point game — outcome still very much in doubt — with 7:35 left.

But the Heat had a response. PJ Tucker answered Tatum’s 3 with one of his own. Brown then connected from deep to get Boston within single digits again, only to have that one answered by a 3 from Strus.

“Our energy shifted,” Adebayo said. “That was the biggest key.”

Some of the plans that both sides had for Game 1 were thrown away about 3 ½ hours before game time, when the Celtics revealed that Smart and Horford wouldn’t be playing. Smart’s absence was somewhat expected because of a mid-foot sprain he suffered in Game 7 of the East semifinals against Milwaukee on Sunday.

Horford’s absence, however, was a surprise.

He entered the league’s health and safety protocols Tuesday afternoon, which ruled him out of Game 1 and quite possibly could keep him out for multiple games going forward. Yet even without two starters, Boston had a chance.

“Other than the third quarter, I think we won every other quarter,” Pritchard said. “Obviously, we try not to let that happen next time.”

TIP-INS

Celtics: Boston’s biggest lead was 13 points. The Celtics are now 46-7 this season in games in which it led by at least that many. … Boston scored 18 points of the first 6 ½ minutes of the first half, then two points in the first 6 ½ minutes of the second half. … The Celtics trailed for only 16 seconds in the first two quarters. … Boston has dropped 17 of its last 26 East finals games.

Heat: Former Miami guard Goran Dragic was in attendance. … This series is the 50th in Heat postseason history. They’re now 28-22 in Game 1s. … Butler’s 15th point — a free throw 16 seconds into the second half — gave him 14,000 for his career, including playoffs. He’s the 220th NBA player to score that many. … Miami missed its first seven shots. … Tucker left in the second quarter to get his right ankle re-taped, then returned for the second half.

BLOCK PARTY

There were 20 blocked shots in the game — 12 by Miami, eight by Boston.

SECOND BEST (AND WORST)

The 25-point differential in the third quarter was the second-best for the Heat and the second-worst for the Celtics this season. Miami outscored Charlotte by 27 in the third quarter on Feb. 5. Boston was outscored by 28 points in the fourth quarter by Chicago on Nov. 1.

SLOW SECOND

Boston didn’t have a field goal in the first six minutes of the second half — the slowest start to a half in any of the Celtics’ 94 games this season. The previous low for field goals made in the opening 6:00 of a half by the Celtics this season, including playoffs, was one in the second half against the Los Angeles Lakers on Dec. 7.

Josh Manson scored 8:02 into overtime, Darcy Kuemper made 23 saves in his return to the net from an eye injury, and the Colorado Avalanche overcame a sluggish start to beat the St. Louis Blues 3-2 on Tuesday night in Game 1 of their second-round series.

Manson sent a shot from near the blue line through a sea of players that went in just over the shoulder of Jordan Binnington.

Valeri Nichushkin and Samuel Girard also scored for an Avalanche team that had a weeklong layoff after sweeping Nashville. It showed early on, too, before they found their stride. They outshot the Blues by a 54-25 margin, including 13-0 in OT. The Avalanche also hit three posts and two crossbars.

Ryan O’Reilly had a first-period goal and Jordan Kyrou tied it late for St. Louis. Binnington kept the Blues close with one sprawling save after another. He stopped 51 shots.

Game 2 is Thursday.

Kuemper suffered a scary eye mishap in Game 3 of the Predators series when a stick blade went through his mask and caught him around his eyelid. It took a few days for the swelling to subside.

Kyrou scored on the power play to tie the game with 3:14 remaining. The Blues have been potent on the power play, going 9 for 27 during the playoffs.

Girard staked Colorado a 2-1 lead midway through the second period on a shot that went through Binnington’s pads. Defenseman Erik Johnson nearly had another moments earlier with a wide-open net, but couldn’t get anything on his shot. Binnington reached out with his glove while on the ground to stop the rolling puck.

O’Reilly took advantage of a Cale Makar turnover to score early in the first period. O’Reilly has a goal in five straight playoff games, matching the longest playoff goal streak in Blues history. He tied the mark held by Phil Roberto (1972) and Joe Mullen (1982), according to NHL Stats.

The Avalanche didn’t look sharp in the opening 20 minutes. Artturi Lehkonen hit the post, while Nazem Kadri and Mikko Rantanen had shots clang off the crossbar.

Leading into the game, Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog, who’s coming off late-season knee surgery, wasn’t buying the rust argument.

“Everybody wants to make that into a thing,” Landeskog said. “Having that rest in the bank will be good.”

BLUES STREAK

It was the eighth straight playoff win over the Blues in a streak that dates to Game 4 of the 2001 conference finals. The Avalanche swept St. Louis in the playoffs last season.

PLAYING NO FAVORITES

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said he didn’t fill out a playoff bracket.

“If it turned out to be true, people would be saying bad things or questioning things that you have no need to question,” said Bettman, who attended the game Tuesday. “I’m probably not a very good prognosticator.”

LINGERING ANIMOSITY?

Blues defenseman Justin Faulk took a hit to the head from Kadri in Game 2 last season and didn’t return in a series that Colorado swept. Kadri drew an eight-game suspension for the hit, missing the final two games against the Blues and all six games against Vegas as Colorado was ousted.

Asked if things were settled, Faulk responded: “We’re here to play hockey and play a series and that’s our focus.”

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN

There remain fans who still show up wearing O’Reilly’s Avalanche sweater. O’Reilly was the 33rd overall pick by Colorado in 2009, scoring 90 goals in 427 career games with the Avalanche.

“Had a great time here,” O’Reilly said. “It’s always nice to see see people appreciate it.”

The Tampa Bay Lightning won the first two games of their playoff series with the Florida Panthers on the road last year.

They’re halfway to a repeat performance.

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period, Andrei Vasilevskiy remained red-hot with 34 saves and the Lightning topped the Panthers 4-1 in Game 1 of an Eastern Conference semifinal series Tuesday night.

In Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper’s estimation, Vasilevskiy was the story.

“Look at the saves he makes at the times we need them,” Cooper said. “To me, that’s what great goaltenders do and they give you a chance to win a hockey game and that’s what our guy did again tonight.”

Nikita Kucherov and Corey Perry each had a goal and an assist, and Ross Colton also scored for the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions, who went ahead 1-0 against their in-state rivals for the second consecutive season.

Time and again, Vasilevskiy slammed the door on Florida. Over his last three games — all of them wins, including Game 7 at Toronto on Sunday — he’s stopped 94 of 99 shots.

“He brings 100 percent effort every single game and everybody’s just trying to take his energy and bring it to your game,” Kucherov said. “He’s a leader … he’s our best player.”

Anthony Duclair had the goal for Presidents’ Trophy-winning Florida, which got 32 saves from Sergei Bobrovsky. Including the qualifying round that was held when the NHL restarted during the pandemic in 2020, Florida has lost seven consecutive Game 1s — a streak that goes back to 1997.

Game 2 is Thursday night.

“They are too good of a team, a veteran team, and they’re not going to open the door for you,’’ Florida interim coach Andrew Brunette said. “We had our opportunities. On to the next game.”

Duclair, a 31-goal scorer, was scratched by Florida for its series-clinching win at Washington, but he was back Tuesday and gave his team the lead by scoring on a pass from Jonathan Huberdeau at 14:01 of the first.

Duclair’s goal came after the Panthers killed off a pair of early penalties — one from MacKenzie Weegar and the other from Duclair — as special teams became a factor in the game.

Florida went 0 for 18 on the power play in the series win against the Capitals and was scoreless on three more tries Tuesday. But Tampa Bay cashed in three of its six chances.

“Part of our game plan was to stay out of the box,” Duclair said. “Their power play has been lethal.”

After Kucherov was hooked by Weegar, he went right around Florida defenseman Aaron Ekblad and fed Perry for a tap-in goal at 16:22 of the second period.

Bellemare’s goal came 3:35 into the third period, giving Tampa Bay its first lead of the game — and the Lightning kept it the rest of the way. The Lightning won a faceoff in the Florida zone and Perry took a quick shot from the slot that Bobrovsky stopped, but the rebound squirted right to Bellemare.

He beat Bobrovsky to the glove side for a 2-1 lead.

It appeared, for a moment, Florida ended its long power play drought and tied the score when Duclair scored on a loose puck. Tampa Bay challenged, saying the puck went off the netting and was therefore out of play. Video review confirmed that and the Lightning continued to lead 2-1.

“We knew, right away our coaching staff told us that wasn’t going to be a goal,” Duclair said. “So you turn the page, get right back at it.”

But it was the last hurrah for Florida. Tampa Bay left no doubt late, with Kucherov and Colton each getting power-play tallies in the final 4:06 to put the game away.

NOTES: It was Cooper’s 124th playoff game with the Lightning. That broke a tie with Mike Babcock (Detroit) for fifth-most with one team, behind only Al Arbour (198, New York Islanders), Scotty Bowman (134, Detroit), Joel Quenneville (128, Chicago) and Glen Sather (127, Edmonton). … Florida fell to 4-8 in Game 1s, including the qualifying round two years ago. … Tampa Bay improved to 15-19 in Game 1s.