Avalanche’s Andre Burakovsky lives childhood ‘dream’ to score Stanley Cup game-winner

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Colorado Avalanche winger Andre Burakovsky put his team up 1-0 in the Stanley Cup Final series against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday with an overtime goal to win Game 1, 4-3.

It was Burakovsky’s second goal of the postseason. He told ESPN’s Emily Kaplan after the game it was a dream come true for him.

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Andre Burakovsky #95 of the Colorado Avalanche celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against Andrei Vasilevskiy, #88 of the Tampa Bay Lightning, during overtime to win Game One of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final, 4-3, at Ball Arena on June 15, 2022 in Denver, Colorado.

Andre Burakovsky #95 of the Colorado Avalanche celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against Andrei Vasilevskiy, #88 of the Tampa Bay Lightning, during overtime to win Game One of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final, 4-3, at Ball Arena on June 15, 2022 in Denver, Colorado. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

“These fans are amazing. They’ve been amazing the entire year for us,” Burakovsky said when asked what it felt like to hear the roar of the crowd at the Ball Arena.

“This is great. This (has been) a dream since I was a kid.”

The Avalanche jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the first period, starting with a goal from Gabriel Landeskog and, less than two minutes later, Valeri Nichushkin got another one on the board. It appeared Colorado had caught Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy off guard to start the game. However, the Avalanche struggled to contain the lead as the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions roared back later in the game to tie it and force overtime.

“I think we really battled through this whole game. We had a mental breakdown in the second period but bounced back in the third. Awesome job by the boys,” Burakovsky added.

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Andre Burakovsky #95 of the Colorado Avalanche celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against Andrei Vasilevskiy, #88 of the Tampa Bay Lightning, during overtime to win Game One of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final 4-3 at Ball Arena on June 15, 2022 in Denver, Colorado.

Andre Burakovsky #95 of the Colorado Avalanche celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against Andrei Vasilevskiy, #88 of the Tampa Bay Lightning, during overtime to win Game One of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final 4-3 at Ball Arena on June 15, 2022 in Denver, Colorado. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Lightning winger Nick Paul would cut the lead in half at the 12:26 mark with his fourth goal of the postseason. His score came on assists from Victor Hedman and Brayden Point. It would not be long before Colorado got one back. It would be Artturi Lehkonen’s doing, and it gave the Avalanche a 3-1 lead heading into the intermission.

Tampa Bay would come back in a big way in the second period. Ondrej Palat scored his ninth goal of the postseason at the 12:51 mark and Mikhail Sergachev would put the equalizer past Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper to tie the game.

Both teams would go scoreless in the third period leading to Burakovsky’s game-winner in the extra session on a missed shot from J.T. Compher and a pass from Valeri Nichushkin.

Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said he thought Burakovsky was playing well the entire night.

“I thought he was solid, really solid tonight. Managed the puck real well, didn’t have any turnovers, checked hard, getting above pucks. He was skating well,” he said, via NHL.com.

The Colorado Avalanche surround and celebrate with teammate Andre Burakovsky #95 in the corner after Burakovsky scored the game-winning goal in overtime as Victor Hedman, #77 of the Tampa Bay Lightning, skates toward the bench area in Game One of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final at Ball Arena on June 15, 2022 in Denver, Colorado. The Avalanche defeated the Lightning 4-3 in overtime.

The Colorado Avalanche surround and celebrate with teammate Andre Burakovsky #95 in the corner after Burakovsky scored the game-winning goal in overtime as Victor Hedman, #77 of the Tampa Bay Lightning, skates toward the bench area in Game One of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final at Ball Arena on June 15, 2022 in Denver, Colorado. The Avalanche defeated the Lightning 4-3 in overtime. (Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

“And that’s kind of what ‘Burky’ can do. Like, you put him in a spot, he can finish. He’s a streaky scorer. When he gets opportunities, he can put the puck in the net. But all-around game for him tonight, I thought it was really strong.”

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Game 2 is set for Saturday at 8 p.m. ET.

Ryan Gaydos is the sports editor for Fox News and Fox Business. Story tips can be sent to [email protected]

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