What we have learned about the Stanley Cup Final-bound Lightning passing through three rounds
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have eliminated New York Rangers and advanced to the Stanley Cup Final for the third consecutive season, Colorado Avalanche rested and prepared for Game 1 (Wednesday, 8 ET, ESPN).
Here are five things we have learned about Lightning so far in their 2022 postseason tour and what it means for the final show.
Three types of peat are available
NHL has not had three players as a Stanley Cup champion since 1983, when the New York Islanders completed their line-up. Since then, six other teams have won the Stanley Cups in a row. Five of them failed to advance to the second round until Lightning won the East this season.
“You don’t get that opportunity very often. They don’t come around. It’s like we saw at the top of the hill. Let’s move on,” said Lightning coach Jon Cooper.
With the highly prestigious Stanley Cup: The Colorado Avalanche, attempting to finally win their first Competition since 2001 a few years later as a top competitor; and Lightning, now only four wins from unprecedented in the NHL pay period, which began in 2005.
“To get there the first time was a dream. To get there the second time, the next year, there was a dream. There was no way we were going back. Going to the third was impossible,” Cooper said. “To see their size, look at the pain … I’m really impressed with what they do to win the game of hockey. No one can say ‘hey, we won one or two.’ But the third trip? I’m really impressed. “
To win the next third trophy, Lightning must overcome what Stamkos believe is the best team in the NHL.
“Colorado? Probably the best team in the league,” Stamkos said. “As you progress through the playoffs, every round gets stronger and every opponent gets stronger. There’s a reason there are two left, and that’s because they are two very good teams. We’ll have full hands.”
(Usually) old faces, the same success
Avalanche face a lightning team whose base is similar to the teams that won the Cups in a row.
Tampa Bay is powered by a star:
Center Steven Stamkos, team captain with 481 goals
Winger Nikita Kucherov, former MVP in the league and winner in the playoffs
Center Brayden Point, who missed nearly two rounds to injury but has scored more goals than any other player in the last three years.
Defender Victor Hedman, was named for six consecutive Norris Trophy seasons as NHL’s top defender, as well as the MVP playoffs in 2020.
Defender Ryan McDonagh, a regular soldier
Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, MVP of the playoffs in 2021
He is backed by a number of comebackers including winner Ondrej Palat, who scored two extra-time extra goals, winning goals against Rangers; Alex Killorn and Pat Maroon, who are trying to play in their fourth consecutive Cup competition; ace defensive center Anthony Cirelli, who closed the Rangers’ top line; and smooth skating for skating Mikhail Sergachev.
One of the most exciting things about the game? That Lightning lost their entire line of scrutiny and other key players in the last two Cup games; replaced by old pickups of the game season (Corey Perry, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare) and long-term purchases (Brandon Hagel, Nick Paul); and he never missed.
“We wanted the right thing,” said GM Julien BriseBois. “We are looking for guys who are proud and passionate. Pride is what can keep you from pushing yourself when things are not going well for you. I want to encourage you to keep doing well. I am hungry for more.
Kucherov is an elite
Avalanche and Lightning both have top players who can take the game. Kucherov is the eldest of them. Kucherov has 23 points in 17 games, which are equally divided between 5-on-5 and strong games. No NHL player has scored more points than Kucherov in the last three years. Although his goal-scoring prowess is exceptional, it is his playfulness and puck distribution that helps him raise points.
Look no further than the last meeting. His right touch of Ondrej Palat set up a winning goal in 3 games, with the whole court considering extra time. In Game 6, his pass to Stamkos as captain to the net scored the winning and winning goal.
He is the driver for the Lightning. When he becomes self-confident and angrily rolls over, he realizes. “You hear conversations on the bench as they leave [the ice]. “The boys know that your best player is in the big game,” said Stamkos.
If Lightning wins Stanley’s third consecutive trophy, it may be time for Kucherov to lift the Conn Smythe Trophy as a playoff MVP.
Can Avs defeat Vasilevskiy?
Colorado took some breaks later this season. The Nashville Predators had no founder Juuse Saros injured. City of St. Louis Blues failed to recover Jordan Binington injury in Game 3. And Edmonton Oilers player Mike Smith was … well, Mike Smith.
The goal-scorers have a combined interest rate of .886 against the Avalanche this season. But with the exception of something unexpected, the Avalanche will face their toughest rivalry in the Stanley Cup Final – as well as the player who many consider to be the best player in the world.
The tournament did not start well for Vasilevskiy, where he netted 22 goals in seven games at Toronto Maple Leafs. But he was great when it was most important, stopping 30 of 31 shots in Game 7. Outside of a hiccup in Game 1 against Rangers, after a nine-day dismissal, Vasilevskiy has been in full control. As coach Jon Cooper said, he found his “mojo” as the game progressed.
In Vasilevskiy, Avalanche has met one of the greatest players in NHL history. Not only is he better, but he is also the best: In the previous 23 games, Vasilevskiy had 1.65 goals against the average with six shutouts. The third straight Stanley Cup tournament could strengthen his legacy as one of the best.
“Looking back, when we grow up, this is going to be something that lasts a long time. It’s very exciting to play with a player who can come down as one of the best players who ever played the game,” Killorn said. he said. “This is how you read the players: How they play in the big games.
The competition is flexible
As they race to the Final, Avalanche have become a team that can win 8-6 games as freely as they can win 4-0. Instead, he did it all on the same list against Edmonton Oilers. As Colorado star Nathan MacKinnon pointed out, Avalanche can play hard at home and play “tired and bad” hockey on the road to reduce teams.
Avalanche is cooking the way Lightning did in their previous two competitions. Tampa Bay has a disappointing players to go to the goal with Avalanche, who lead the playoffs with 4.64 goals per game. But Lightning also has a 1-0 lead, former players who include a patient to do this.
“I think I’m just confident in myself and believing in the work you put in. But relying on words. We believe that everyone who passes those boards will do their job. Whether you score a goal or not, it’s the little things you do. I’m a defender. “It ‘s not worried about your role. It comes out and plays as hard as you can for the guy sitting next to you in the locker room,” said Stamkos.
“That’s why the team is so special. We don’t know what will happen here in the next 10-14 days. But we know we will give it our all.”
There’s no word on how the series will be played before the game, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Stanley Cup Final a battle between Colorado error and the various ways Lightning will try to defend. They are Vasilevskiy as the spine. They have Hedman and McDonagh playing about 47 minutes in a game between them. They have a freshman line-up with Hagel, Cirelli and Killorn dominating the Rangers 5-on-5, and a team of leaders who take pride in defending in every important way.
Is it contagious? It does [block a shot] and then you have the opportunity to do so. You come off the bench and it’s not a pleasant place to be if you don’t want to. That’s why guys stay in line for this, “Cooper said.” This has been our history for several years. They are built into our culture. “
The culture of competition, as well as what should make up the final of the Stanley Cup Final against Avalanche.
Stamkos said Avalanche is a team that Lightning is expected to have already played in the Stanley Cup. Colorado failed to advance to the second quarter in three consecutive years.
“Now it’s broken. It’s got an incredible mix of old players, star powers, grinders, goalie. It’s a big problem for us,” Stamkos said. “We know how to play. It’s no secret they have power players.”
About Lightning. He can run with a gun. But perhaps, it will be their defense that could change the difference between being the sixth team since 1983 to miss the top three or the first line of the cap-era era.
“We don’t care how it happens. It just needs to happen,” Stamkos said. “We’re going to the last one. We have a chance to do something very special.”