'This was a dream since I was a kid'

‘This was a dream since I was a kid’

Big Goal Burkie did it again.

Picking up where he left off against the Tampa Bay Lightning four years ago, Andre Burakovsky scored the overtime game-winning goal in the first game of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final. The Avalanche now lead the series 1-0.

Taking a perfect setup pass from Valeri Nichushkin, Burakovsky one-timed the puck from the right circle past Andrei Vasilevskiy to send the Ball Arena crowd into a frenzy. The Avalanche won 4-3.

The goal scored Burakovsky’s third goal in his last two playoff games against the Lightning. Four years ago, during Game Seven of the 2018 Eastern Conference Final, Burakovsky scored twice to push the Capitals to that year’s championship series.

“I mean, it feels amazing,” a beaming Burakovsky said after the game to ESPN’s Emily Kaplan. “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!”

He added scoring a SCFOTGWG “was a dream since I was a kid.”

During the interview, the Avs’ PA announcer announced Burakovsky as the first star of the game. He giddily smiled and waved to the crowd.

“These fans are amazing,” Burakovsky said. “They’ve been amazing the entire year for us.”

The goal marked Burakovsky’s first career overtime playoff goal, passing Alex Ovechkin (0). It was also his third career game-winning goal in the playoffs.

Per NHL PR, Burakovsky’s OT winner was the earliest in a Stanley Cup Final since 2011 (Alexandre Burrows in Game 2 of Canucks-Bruins).

Burakovsky skated with JT Compher and Mikko Rantanen during the game on the second line. In 12:34 of ice time, he scored the decisive goal, his second of this year’s postseason, and put three shots on net. Earlier in the game, the Avs almost scored on a rebound off a Burkie shot from the slot. Burkie now has six points in 11 games played.

During his postgame press conference, Burakovsky admitted that he struggled sleeping the night before and woke up at 6 AM because he was feeling so excited.

“Just wait until you have kids,” Avs captain Gabriel Landeskog said. “You’ll be up at 6 every day.”

Coming into the series, Burakovsky was excited to get back to the Stanley Cup Final but with a bigger role than he did in Washington.

“I think we just want to write our own story,” he said. “I’m not looking back too much on what we did (with the Capitals) to be able to win. This is a new group and a new organization. We’re going to begin to write our own story here.”

Wednesday he did just that in sudden death, writing his name into Avs’ lore forever.

Screenshot: @Avalanche/Twitter

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