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2021-22 Stanley Cup Final: Avalanche vs. Lightning


Who wins the Cup?  

23 members have voted

  1. 1. Well?

    • Avalanche in 4
      0
    • Avalanche in 5
    • Avalanche in 6
    • Avalanche in 7
    • Lightning in 4
      0
    • Lightning in 5
    • Lightning in 6
    • Lightning in 7


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(1C) Colorado Avalanche vs. (3A) Tampa Bay Lightning

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REGULAR SEASON STANDINGS:

Avalanche: 56-19-7, 119 points

Oilers: 51-23-8, 110 points

SEASON SERIES:

COL 2-0; TBL 0-1-1

 


GAME BREAKERS:

Avalanche: MacKinnon has 18 points and leads Colorado with 11 goals in 14 playoff games. MacKinnon also leads the Avalanche with five power-play goals and scored his second career postseason hat trick against the St. Louis Blues in Game 5 of the Western Conference Second Round. His speed and strength always make him a focus for the opposition.

 

LightningNikita Kucherov continues to be a force for Tampa Bay. The forward leads the Lightning with 23 points (seven goals, 16 assists) in 17 playoff games. He's nine points away from the career-high 34 points (seven goals, 27 assists) he had in 25 playoff games in 2020. Kucherov has three goals and three assists during a five-game point streak.

 


GOALTENDING:

Avalanche: Kuemper missed the final three games of the conference final after sustaining an upper-body injury in Game 1 against the Oilers. He would be available Wednesday, but will Colorado go with Kuemper or Pavel Francouz, who started and won Games 2, 3 and 4 against Edmonton? Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said he and his staff will discuss the options. Kuemper is 6-2 with a 2.65 GAA and .897 save percentage in 10 starts; Francouz is 6-0 with a 2.86 GAA, .906 save percentage and one shutout in six games (four starts).

 

Lightning: There's no doubt who is starting for Tampa Bay. Vasilevskiy is 12-5-0 with a 2.27 GAA, .928 save percentage and one shutout in 17 starts. He won the Conn Smythe Trophy as most valuable player in the postseason when the Lightning won the Cup in 2021 and is in the running again for that honor. He's 61-34 with a 2.24 GAA, .925 save percentage and seven shutouts in 98 career playoff games (93 starts).

 


X FACTORS:

AvalancheCale Makar. He could've been listed as a game breaker as well, because he is. The defenseman plays with the savvy of a top-end forward and he leads Colorado with 22 points (five goals, 17 assists) in 14 playoff games. He saved his best for Game 4 of the conference final, when he had five points (one goal, four assists) to help eliminate the Oilers. He was the first defenseman in NHL history to have five points in a series-clinching game.

 

Lightning: Ondrej Palat. A seventh-round (No. 208) selection by Tampa Bay in the 2011 NHL Draft, the forward has been outstanding this postseason. He has 16 points (eight goals, eight assists) in 17 games, second on the Lightning behind Kucherov. Palat, whose eight goals are second on the Lightning to Steven Stamkos with nine, always seems to be in the right place at the right time. He has two game-winning goals this postseason and 11 for his career, most in Lightning history.

 


WILL WIN IF:

Avalanche: They get goaltending, from whoever starts. Colorado obviously faced some firepower against Edmonton in forwards Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Evander Kane. The Avalanche will have to deal with it again with the Lightning with Kucherov, Victor Hedman, Palat and Stamkos, among others. Be it Kuemper or Francouz, he'll have to be at his best and will need the same from the defense in front of him.

 

Lightning: If they can hold up. Tampa Bay's depth has been critical in getting this far after winning the Stanley Cup in 2020 and 2021. Now the Lightning are coming off another lengthy series against the Rangers, but the Avalanche haven't played since June 6. They've played a lot of hockey over the past three seasons, and it would be easy to think it's finally going to catch up to them. Betting against them, however, doesn't seem wise.

 


MORE:

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Style makes this series.  If Avalanche get to race up and down the ice, they win.  If Lightning can force lots of stoppages, and a structured game, they have a chance.  I like the Avalanche in 5. Too good.  And I think they can be effective when TB slows things down,

Edited by fletch
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I find myself not very interested in this series. I'll watch here and there but it's two teams I couldn't care less about except to hate one of them. I'm sure what might have been has a lot to do with it, plus the awful, extremely biased broadcasting crew.

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Colorado has faced maybe even shittier goaltending in the playoffs than we did prior to facing Tampa. Not denying their explosive offense or their speed. But Tampa is going to dissect them, figure out a way to slow them down and frustrate the hell out of them. And unlike last series when they were staring down Shesterkin, now they’re staring down shit.

 

Tampa in 5. Maybe 6. Likely 5. Stamkos has a monster series.

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2 fast ones by Colorado. 2-0 half way through the 1st.

 

As we learned, don’t sleep on Tampa. I said it in another thread: they’re like the Floyd Mayweather of hockey teams at this point. They’ll let you come out and lay it on heavy to start. But as they’re doing that, they’re feeling you out and learning your tendencies and waiting to pounce. And when they do, they won’t let you breathe. And they’ll expose any weakness you have.

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As we saw in Game 1 of our series, Vasy looks very ordinary when his defense isn't lights out and completely boxing out the opponents and limiting high danger chances. Definitely not as technically good as Shesty. Dependable yes, but he's not going to routinely bail his defense out the way Shesty does. 

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5 hours ago, Karan said:

As we saw in Game 1 of our series, Vasy looks very ordinary when his defense isn't lights out and completely boxing out the opponents and limiting high danger chances. Definitely not as technically good as Shesty. Dependable yes, but he's not going to routinely bail his defense out the way Shesty does. 

While this is all true, no goalie should have to bail out the defense the way Shesty does. 

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8 hours ago, Pete said:

While this is all true, no goalie should have to bail out the defense the way Shesty does. 

 

That's a wider reaching personnel/coaching problem better discussed in the off-season thread lol But the fact that he demonstrated it all regular season and into the playoffs, confirmed in my view that he's a far superior technical goalie to Vasy. 

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