Faced with a salary-cap crunch, the Minnesota Wild traded high-scoring forward Kevin Fiala to the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday for prospect Brock Faber and a first-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft. 

Fiala is coming off a breakout season during which he set career highs with 33 goals and 85 points while playing in all 82 games for Minnesota.  

The Swiss-born winger needed a new deal as a pending restricted free agent, and the Kings have reportedly taken care of that by signing him to an eight-year contract extension worth an average annual value of $7.9million.  

Fiala likely slots into the top line for Los Angeles with veteran centre Anze Kopitar and All-Star right wing Adrian Kempe. The Kings can use Fiala’s offense after they finished 20th in the league last season with 2.87 goals per game.  

''LA, they came in right away and were serious right away,'' Wild general manager Bill Guerin said. ''There was no tire-kicking or feeling-out process. They were serious right away, so it made it easy to do a deal.'' 

Minnesota gets the 19th overall pick in next week’s draft along with Faber, the Kings' second-round pick in 2020 and a star defenseman at the University of Minnesota. The Wild also own the 24th overall pick in the draft. 

Though he had an outstanding regular season, Fiala struggled in the playoffs for the second straight year. He did not score a goal in a six-game loss to the St. Louis Blues in the first round after he had one goal in a seven-game loss to the Vegas Golden Knights in 2020-21.  

The Wild had little choice but to move on from Fiala with buyout penalties of both Ryan Suter and Zach Parise kicking in this season and accounting for over $12.7 million in dead money on the team’s books.  

Guerin all but predicted he would have to trade Fiala to stay under the cap after signing forwards Kirill Kaprizov and Joel Eriksson Ek to long-term contracts last year.  

Twin brothers Daniel and Henrik Sedin, along with former Vancouver Canucks team-mate Roberto Luongo and long-time Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, headline the Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2022. 

Finish women's hockey great Riikka Sallinen and Herb Carnegie, a black hockey pioneer, were also selected Monday to be inducted in November. 

Daniel and Henrik played all 17 of their NHL seasons together for the Canucks after being selected second and third overall in the 1999 NHL draft. 

Henrick finished his career with 1,070 points and won the 2009-10 league scoring title and the Hart Trophy as league MVP that season, while Daniel ended with 1,041 points and won the NHL scoring title in 2010-11 with 104 points. 

Henrik routinely set up his brother, finishing his career with 830 assists (27th all time) while Daniel was the beneficiary of Henrik's passes, tallying 393 goals. 

The brothers each won an Olympic gold medal for Sweden at the 2006 Games and helped lead the Canucks to 11 playoffs trips and a berth in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. 

While the Sedins fuelled the offense for those Canucks teams, Luongo protected the net, serving as Vancouver's goaltender from 2006-07 until he was traded to the Florida Panthers on in March 2014.

Over a 19-season career from 1999-2000 to 2018-19, Luongo ranks second among all goalies with 1,044 games played while his 489 wins are fourth most. 

A three-time finalist for the Vezina Trophy, Luongo ranks ninth all time with 77 career shutouts and was also the goalie on the Canada team that won the 2010 Olympic gold medal. 

Alfredsson, who also won an Olympic gold as a team-mate of the Sedins on the 2006 Sweden team, spent 17 of his 18 NHL seasons with the Senators. 

The winner of the 1995-96 Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie, Alfredsson finished his career with 444 goals (tied for 64th all time) and 1,157 points (55th most in NHL history). 

Sallinen, the first woman not born in North America to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, won bronze medals for Finland at the 1998 and 2018 Olympics, while Carnegie, who died in 2012 at the age of 92, is widely considered the best black hockey player to never play in the NHL. 

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar added yet another incredible accomplishment to his resume by being named winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy for MVP of the playoffs, as his side secured the Stanley Cup with a 2-1 win in Game 6.

In doing so, Makar became the first player to ever win all five of the Hobey Baker Award for best player in college hockey, the Calder Memorial Trophy for Rookie of the Year, the James Norris Memorial Trophy for the NHL's top defenseman, the Conn Smythe Trophy, and a Stanley Cup.

It is a resume that will likely book his place in the Hall-of-Fame when all is said and done – and he does not turn 24 years old until October.

Speaking to ESPN after the final siren sounded, Makar said it was a dream come true.

"I just look at [my teammates], and all the work these guys have put in," he said. "They've been here so many years, the ups and downs.

"It's just so awesome to be a part of them getting rewarded for all their hard work and success over the years. I'm just so proud of the boys.

"You grow up, you see [the Stanley Cup trophy] as a kid, you have pictures of it on your wall.

"All I think about is everyone that got me here – my family is in the stands, so it's amazing, wherever they are. It's just surreal, amazing."

He added: "It's just been building over time. I've been here only three years, with a couple tough exits in playoffs.

"It was just all leading up to this. Oh man, if you told me this was going to be three years in, I would've said I don't know… it's just amazing, I don't have any more words."

Avalanche coach Jared Bednar spoke about what it felt like to guide this team to the mountaintop.

"I'm feeling every emotion you could possibly think of," he said. "I'm just so happy and so proud of these guys, and what they've put in.

"To see them get rewarded for all their hard work is hard to describe. There's this sense of relief, a sense of satisfaction – it's still sinking in.

"When the buzzer went there was almost disbelief that we got the job done. It's been an amazing ride, and I'm just grateful that I've been able to be a part of it with this team."

He went on to touch on just how hard it is to actually make it all the way, and the evolution he has seen over the past couple of seasons.

"It's so difficult to get here, and that's why I'm so impressed with the Tampa Bay Lightning to be able to do it three years in a row and win two Cups, it's incredible," he said.

"We've gone from just being a skill team that was fun to watch, to digging in and getting more competitive in a lot of areas, and more determined in a lot of areas, but they're such a close-knit group and a resilient group.

"Whether we've learned that with maturity, or the last couple seasons of heartbreak, this group has been so focused to accomplish their goals, that's why I'm so happy they got rewarded. It's been a long journey for a lot of these guys, and it's been an amazing ride."

Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic – who spent 13 seasons as a player in Colorado, including both of the franchise's previous Stanley Cup seasons – said he is filled with joy for the older players in the team who may have thought they would never get one.

"It feels great, it's amazing," he said. "This is something you dream of. I'm so proud of the players, particularly the older guys that have been around.

"Guys like [Nathan] MacKinnon, [Gabriel] Landeskog, Erik Johnson, they didn't want to leave, they wanted to be a part of it. I'm happy for those guys.

"You bring in a guy like Jack Johnson who hasn't won, and [Andrew] Cogliano comes in, and these older guys who have been around a long time and now have their opportunity to win their first cup. Being a former player, you know how happy they are, and how relieved they are to have a chance to lift the Stanley Cup."

Though it had been more than two decades since the Colorado Avalanche won a Stanley Cup, the past three years had been particularly difficult, but star Nathan MacKinnon said his side "never stopped believing".

Three consecutive exits in the Western Conference semi-finals saddled the Avalanche with one of the most dreaded of labels – a team that couldn’t translate regular-season success into postseason glory.

That myth has now been busted, and then some, following Colorado’s 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 of this year’s Stanley Cup Final, a win which capped one of the more dominant playoff runs in recent memory.

Colorado finished this postseason with a 16-4 record, tied for the second-highest winning percentage of any team since the NHL adopted a best-of-seven format for all four rounds in 1986-87. Only the Wayne Gretzky-led Edmonton Oilers of 1986-87, who went 16-2, have produced a better mark.

"Some tough years mixed in there, but it’s all over now," MacKinnon said after registering a goal and an assist in Sunday’s clincher. "We never stopped believing."

That never-say-die attitude was evident in Game 6, in which Colorado erased an early 1-0 deficit against the two-time defending champion Lightning, and throughout this title run. Sunday’s win was the Avalanche’s 10th come-from-behind victory of these playoffs, tying the 2008-09 Pittsburgh Penguins for the most in a single postseason.

"If you surround yourself with great people, you can accomplish great things," defenseman Erik Johnson said, the Avalanche’s longest-tenured player who hoisted the Cup for the first time in 14 NHL seasons – 12 of which have been spent in Denver.

The Avalanche seemed primed for greatness during the pandemic-shortened 2020-21 campaign, in which they produced 82 points in 56 games to win the Presidents’ Trophy. But a second-straight second-round flameout as a higher-seeded team left many wondering whether one of the league’s most talented teams could turn potential into production when it mattered most.

Last year’s playoff loss to the Vegas Golden Knights served as a constant motivating force for this season’s squad, which dominated the Western Conference with 119 regular-season points before this outstanding playoff surge.

"Our group, ever since last year, we knew coming into training camp that they were committed," Avalanche vice president of hockey operations Joe Sakic said.

"Nothing phased them this year – they were prepared every day to get better. The coaches had them prepared, and every player bought in.”

Tampa Bay Lightning star Steven Stamkos was in tears as he spoke to reporters after losing to the Colorado Avalanche in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, ending an 11-series winning streak that spanned the past two championships.

The Lightning took an early lead less than five minutes into Sunday's game, but it would be the only goal they would score, with a pair of second-period strikes from Nathan MacKinnon and Artturi Lehkonen proving enough to deliver the Avalanche their first Stanley Cup in over 20 years.

While the Lightning were trying to win their third Stanley Cup in a row, for the Avalanche it was the third in the history of their franchise, joining their 1995-96 and 2000-01 successes.

Speaking in the locker room, Stamkos said what would generally be considered a successful season still felt like heartbreak in the moment.

"It's the worst feeling," he said. "Expectations are so high with this group.

"There's probably a lot of teams that get to this position and feel like they had an unbelievable year – but for us it's disappointing.

"Because we know what we have in [our locker room], we know that feeling [Colorado are] having over there right now is the best in the world, and sometimes you forget the other side of it.

"It was just a grind. That's what makes it even tougher, because you realise how hard you worked to get here. The disappointment is something I probably can't put into words."

Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman paid respect to the champions, but said he feels his side was just a few bounces away from a three-peat.

"Winning three straight, it's rare in this league," he said. "We lost to an unbelievable team, who only lost four games in the playoffs, so they're deserving champs.

"At the same time, we feel like we were right there – two overtime losses, two close games – but at the end of the day, it's tough."

The Colorado Avalanche secured their first Stanley Cup since 2001 by defeating reigning back-to-back champions the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 in Game 6, winning the series 4-2.

It is the third Stanley Cup in franchise history, joining the 1995-96 and 2000-01 seasons.

In front of their home fans, the Lightning were not going to go down without a fight, opening the scoring less than four minutes into the first period as Steven Stamkos got on the end of an Ondrej Palat pass.

That would be the only goal of the opening frame, and things were back on even footing just two minutes into the second, with Nathan MacKinnon finding the back of the net for the equaliser.

Artturi Lehkonen gave the Avalanche their first lead of the night 13 minutes into the second period, as MacKinnon and Josh Manson were credited with the assists, and from that point on it was a nail-biting grind to the finish as the Tampa Bay crowd tried to will the Lightning back into the game.

Ultimately, Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper rose to the occasion, saving 22 out of 23 shots on goal to repel the late charge from the home team and deliver his side the championship.

The Colorado Avalanche secured their first Stanley Cup since 2001 by defeating reigning back-to-back champions the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 in Game 6, winning the series 4-2.

It is the third Stanley Cup in franchise history, joining the 1995-96 and 2000-01 seasons.

In front of their home fans, the Lightning were not going to go down without a fight, opening the scoring less than four minutes into the first period as Steven Stamkos got on the end of an Ondrej Palat pass.

That would be the only goal of the opening frame, and things were back on even footing just two minutes into the second, with Nathan MacKinnon finding the back of the net for the equaliser.

Artturi Lehkonen gave the Avalanche their first lead of the night 13 minutes into the second period, as MacKinnon and Josh Manson were credited with the assists, and from that point on it was a nail-biting grind to the finish as the Tampa Bay crowd tried to will the Lightning back into the game.

Ultimately, Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper rose to the occasion, saving 22 out of 23 shots on goal to repel the late charge from the home team and deliver his side the championship.

The two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning will once again try to stave off elimination without Brayden Point.

Lightning coach Jon Cooper said Point skated on Sunday prior to Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Colorado Avalanche but also mentioned he does not plan on changing his lineup, meaning Point will miss a fourth straight game.

The Avalanche lead the series 3-2 and are one victory away from winning their first Stanley Cup since 2001.

"It's unfortunate because it's a severe injury," Cooper said. "At this time of the year, everybody's trying to get back into the lineup and just there are some things you can't do.

"When you can't do what you're used to doing, it's tough on a player."

Point, the Lightning's leading scorer during each of the team's Cup runs over the last two seasons, suffered a lower-body injury in Game 7 of Tampa Bay's first-round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

He missed the next two rounds before returning for Games 1 and 2 of the Final series but was clearly limited with one total shot in the two games and has been out of the lineup since.

"It's extremely difficult for everyone involved because everyone cares so much. But there's no animosity or anything like that. They're just difficult conversations because everybody wants the same thing," Cooper said.

Point has been sorely missed on the power play, as the Lightning have gone just five-for-38 (13.2 per cent) with the extra skater in their past 13 games.

If Tampa can defend home ice on Sunday and force a Game 7, however, Cooper did not rule out Point returning for Tuesday in Denver. 

"He's still plugging along here and rehabbing and trying to get better. Who knows? If the series goes one more game, you never know," Cooper said.

"It's tough on these guys because they're such competitors."

There is a chance that both the Colorado Avalanche's Andre Burakovsky and the Tampa Bay Lightning's Brayden Point could return for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final in Florida.

Point, the Lightning's leading scorer during each of the team's Cup runs over the last two seasons, suffered a lower-body injury in Game 7 of Tampa Bay's first-round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

After sitting out 10 games, Point returned for Games 1 and 2 of the Cup Final but was clearly limited and has been out of the lineup since.

Even without a top-six forward in Point, the Lightning staved off elimination with a 3-2 victory in Friday's Game 5 in Denver. He is expected to be a game-time decision Sunday.

Avs coach Jared Bednar indicated Burakovsky may be able to play for the first time since Game 2, when he injured his hand blocking a shot.

"I think he's a possibility for us, he's travelling with us, so he may be in the lineup," Bednar said.

Burakovsky, who was the overtime hero of Game 1, had not travelled with the team for Games 3 and 4 in Florida.

Bednar also said that key forwards Valeri Nichushkin and J.T. Compher have been cleared for Sunday after dealing with injuries in Game 5.

Colorado Avalanche coach Jared Bednar was frustrated with side's 3-2 home defeat to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final on Friday.

The Avalanche could have sealed the series with a win at Ball Arena, but a late Ondrej Palat goal secured a vital win for the Lightning to keep it alive.

Bednar was unhappy with a call in the second period that left his team facing a four-on-three power play, from which Nikita Kucherov scored after a tripping violation against Cale Makar.

"I didn't love that call, just because I don't think there was any intent there," Bednar said after the game. "I don't even think he was checking that guy [Palat]. Looked to me like he kind of tripped over his stick.

"It's a tough one. They got their only power-play goal on that one. So that hurt, stung a little bit. But it is what it is. You gotta roll with the punches."

Makar was also clearly displeased by the call against him, but like his coach, insisted his team have to put it behind them and think about Game 6.

"I'm not here to talk about the refs," Makar said. "We have to battle through that. It's playoffs, there's going to be discrepancies game to game with different people. It is what it is. You can't get your emotions taken into that.

"For me, that [tripping penalty] doesn't happen very often but at the end of the day you have to refocus."

It is the second game in a row in which the losing team has felt a crucial call went against them, with Lightning coach Jon Cooper walking out of a media conference following Game 4 in which he believed Nazem Kadri's overtime goal should have been chalked off for too many men on the ice.

Avs captain Gabriel Landeskog said Colorado should resist complaining about the officiating, suggesting that is something for their opponents to do. 

"I'm not getting into [the refereeing decisions]," Landeskog said. "It's something they [the Lightning] can continue to do; we're not doing that. We're focusing on our game.

"We'll watch some video tomorrow, make sure we're fine-tuning some things going into the next game here."

Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper said his side's 3-2 road win in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final typified the kind of championship pedigree that has delivered back-to-back Stanley Cups.

Trailing 3-1 in the series heading into the contest, the Lightning struck first after 15 minutes of action as Jan Rutta got on the end of a move by Corey Perry and Mikhail Sergachev.

It would be the only score of the opening period, before the Avalanche would tie things up five minutes into the second term through a Valeri Nichushkin strike.

Just three minutes later Nikita Kucherov put Tampa Bay back ahead with a power-play goal, but the Avalanche would not lay down on their home ice, squaring the ledger once again two minutes into the third and final period, with Cale Makar setting up a tense finish.

Ondrej Palat would be the hero, putting the Lightning ahead 3-2 with less than seven minutes to play, before a late penalty against the Avalanche for having too many men on the ice all but ended their chances of a comeback.

Speaking to ESPN after the result, Cooper said all his side has went through over the past two championship runs has prepared them for these situations.

"The resolve in the room – and part of this is that we've been here before," he said. "We know this feeling, we've been on both sides.

"We've been part of the cup-winning team when we had a chance to close somebody out, and you learn from those experiences. 

"We've not closed teams out, and we've closed teams out. Champions have a skillset like none other, but the greatest skillset they have is what's between the ears, and we used that tonight to our advantage. We're still alive."

Asked about what he appreciates most about this Lightning team, Cooper said it was their toughness.

"It's what the people don't see," he said. "You see everything that goes on the ice and all that – it's what you see in the locker room.

"These guys – it's like they're spent, and you think 'how are they going to get off the mat?' – and then they get off the mat. It's just amazing to see.

"I remember Wayne Gretzky saying once about when they lost in the Cup to the Islanders – when they got there, they got swept – and as his team walked off, nothing wrong with them, they looked into the Islanders locker room, and they weren't even celebrating, they all had ice bags and packs.

"That's what it takes to win, and I've always kept that with me. When you get these teams, you kind of have to have that attitude, and that's what this team has."

Cooper was also full of praise for star goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy – who was named player of the game – calling him "the best in the world".

"I just sit here and think about sports in general, and the importance of somebody in sports," he said.

"You look at football, and how important Tom Brady is to his team, the quarterback. The quarterback in football is like the goaltender in hockey.

"You're the last line of defense, if that puck goes in the net, you're the one that has to sweep it out and turn the page because they're coming right back at you.

"Everybody's got their eyes on you, and all he does is deliver. You talk about a mental mindset of gamesmanship, that kid's got it, and that's why he's the best in the world."

Scorer of the winning goal, Palat said his side was confident coming into the contest, and that they did what was needed.

"I thought we played a good game – a great road game, we stayed on top of it," he said.

"[Vasilevskiy] was great, again, and we just find a way to win. A huge win, now we're excited to go back to Tampa.

"Right now we feel pretty good – we're excited to go back in front of our friends, it's going to be a great game. I felt great [before the game], everybody was pretty confident and excited. 

"We knew we had to just win this game and move on."

Now trailing 3-2 in the series, the Lightning will head home for Game 6, and if they win, the Game 7 decider will be back in Colorado.

Colorado Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar wants his team to use their "nervous energy and emotion" in Game 5 as they aim to secure their first Stanley Cup in more than 20 years.

The Avs lead the Finals series against the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1 after a crucial 3-2 win in overtime in Game 4, courtesy of a controversial Nazem Kadri goal when Colorado had six players on the ice.

Colorado can seal their third Stanley Cup and first since 2001 with a victory over the Lightning, having started the series with two wins on home ice before they were thrashed 6-2 in Game 3.

Bednar expects heightened emotions among his players, with title celebrations looming, but does not want them to shy away from those feelings.

"You always hear about controlled emotion. I'm kind of the opposite with our team," Bednar told reporters.

"Besides running around and getting out of our game plan, I want us to use our energy and nervous energy and emotion to go play the game with passion, play hard and stay on our toes and getting after it.

"That's my message to our team, has been all year. I want to harness that. I want our team to get on the attack.

"Every game the whole season long, it was the same type of preparation as today."

The Tampa Bay Lightning’s quest for a third straight Stanley Cup championship is perilously close to ending, due in part to a goal that coach Jon Cooper believes should not have counted.

Nazem Kadri’s overtime goal in Wednesday’s Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final put the Colorado Avalanche at a decided 3-1 advantage in the best-of-seven series, though an emotional Cooper implied during the post-game media conference the Avalanche had an extra skater on the ice at the time of the deciding tally.

"This one is going to sting much more than others,” Cooper said of the Lightning’s 3-2 loss. "It's going to be hard for me to speak. I'll speak with you [Thursday]. You're going to see what I mean when you see the winning goal."

Cooper did not answer any additional questions, stopping the conference just over two minutes in.

The NHL's official scoresheet had six skaters listed on the ice for Kadri’s game-winner, which occurred 12:02 into overtime, but later said in a statement the discrepancy could have been due to players jumping off the bench to celebrate the goal.

Too many men on the ice penalties are not able to be reviewed under league replay rules.

"A too many men on the ice penalty is a judgment call that can be made by any of the four on-ice officials," NHL Hockey Operations said in the statement.

"Following the game, Hockey Operations met with the four officials as is their normal protocol. In discussing the winning goal, each of the four officials advised that they did not see a too many men on the ice situation on the play.

"This call is not subject to video review either by Hockey Ops or the on-ice officials."

Cooper began his brief news conference lauding his players’ resolve for reaching a third consecutive Cup Final in a salary-cap era before alluding to his disapproval to the no-call on Kadri’s goal.

"I've been part of some heartbreaking losses and defeats to the teams that took us out, and been with a group that just fights, fights and fights," he said.

"And they fought their way to a third Stanley Cup Final in a row. And in a cap era when it’s so damn hard and the rules are put against you because the league wants parity.

“My heart breaks for the players, because we should probably still be playing.”

The series now shifts back to Denver for Friday’s Game 5, in which the Avalanche will attempt to clinch the franchise’s first Stanley Cup title since 2001. 

The Colorado Avalanche are now one game away from winning the Stanley Cup after a 3-2 overtime win on the road against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Wednesday's Game 4.

Tampa Bay were riding high after working their way back into the series with a dominant 6-2 showing in Game 3, but they now trail 3-1 in the series in their quest for three consecutive championships, with Game 5 headed back to Denver.

The Lightning were in control early as Anthony Cirelli scored the opening period's only goal, just 36 seconds into the action, dominating the opening period to force Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper into 16 first-period saves. The visitors could only muster four shots on goal in comparison.

The Avalanche fought back into the contest in the second period, restoring parity thanks to Nathan MacKinnon's power-play goal, before Victor Hedman put the Lightning back in front heading into the third.

An early goal from Colorado's Andrew Cogliano put things even again at 2-2, which would hold through regulation and eight minutes of overtime until Nazem Kadri was slipped through by Artturi Lehkonen.

Kadri's shot deflected off Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy's stick and nestled into the top of the net in a hard-to-view position, with the Colorado bench eventually exploding into celebrations once they realised it was in the goal.

After the game, Kadri was asked if he knew he had scored with his winning shot.

"Not really," he admitted. "I just tried to make a little move there and go far-side, and I'm assuming that's where it went. 

"I don't know if it found a hole, but it was a bit of a delayed reaction. I thought he made the save for a second, and the next thing you know people are sprinting towards me – it's a good feeling."

Playing in his first career Stanley Cup Final game in his return from thumb surgery, Kadri said he was determined to make it count.

"I've been waiting for this my whole life, so I figured I'd stop waiting and just try to join the party," he said.

"I'm just grateful I'm able to be in this position, and with this group of guys – you couldn't have written a better story.

"[Closing out the series] is going to be tough – the last one is the hardest one to win, everybody will tell you that.

"They're a great team over there, so we're expecting a good effort from them."

Avalanche star MacKinnon was complimentary of the efforts of Vasilevskiy – who denied a number of great chances in overtime before eventually conceding – but said he feels the right team won.

"[Vasilevskiy] was awesome – but it just felt like a matter of time, we really tilted the ice," he said.

"It just felt like we deserved it, we really outplayed them in overtime. We had a shaky first period, but other than that we were very solid.

"Obviously thrilled with the win, but short memory, we've got to move on and get ready for Friday night."

Acknowledging the extra fanfare that comes with a potential close-out game at home, MacKinnon said the key would be to not get caught up in the commotion.

"It starts with blocking out all the 'BS' that comes along with it," he said.

"Obviously we've got family and friends in town, we know what's going to be in the building, but have to stick to what's got us to this point.

"That's our great process – we put that before anything and we feel like the result will get done.

"Nothing changes, we have to stick to our game plan that we've been doing all season. I know it's cliche, but it's true.

"We're feeling good, we're going to be coming in attacking and aggressive, and hopefully get that win."

Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper expects All-Star Nikita Kucherov to play in Game 4 of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday despite an injury concern.

Kucherov exited Game 3 on Monday, as the Lightning won 6-2 over the Colorado Avalanche, with 6:05 remaining in the third period after a push from Devon Toews.

The Russian tangled with Toews after being slammed into the ice and boards and was involved in the ensuing power play but left hobbling for the trainers' room soon after.

"As I sit right now, I think he can play tomorrow," Cooper told reporters on Tuesday.

"But I'm not Kuch. If I know Kuch, he's sitting there saying the same thing. But we'll see what the doctors and everybody says."

Kucherov has been the Lightning's leading points scorer over this season's Stanley Cup playoffs, adding seven goals to his 19 assists.

The 29-year-old has been a creative force for the reigning Stanley Cup champions in important moments this post-season, namely his extraordinary game-winning backhand assist for Ross Colton in Game 2 against the Florida Panthers to set up a 2-0 series lead.

Cooper added: "I think so. I hope so. It's always difficult when the game is 12 hours ago or whatever it was. A lot can happen over the next two days.

"Am I glad there's a day off between games? Yes. We'll see how he is tomorrow."

Cooper said that Kucherov has played through pain before, including in the 2021 playoffs when he had a cracked rib.

The Lightning, who are chasing a rare Stanley Cup three-peat, trail 2-1 in the series after losing both games in Colorado.

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