Stanley Cup: chronicle by François Gagnon to set the table for game 6 of the final

TAMPA — Buoyed by a 3-2 win that kept them alive and a return to the comfort of the Amalie Arena, the Tampa Bay Lightning players will attempt Sunday night’s grand final against the Avalanche at the seven-game limit to advance

When Steven Stamkos and his teammates get there, the “Bolts” will be number 7e History-making to force a seventh game to be held after falling 3-1 in the final. They would be the second in history to cap this comeback with a save with the trophy.

In 1942, the Toronto Maple Leafs upped the ante by defeating the Red Wings in the Grand Finals after Detroit won their first three games.

In search of a third straight win, the Lightning have already won three games with no future since the start of the playoffs. Two over the Maple Leafs in the first round – 4-3 overtime wins in Game 6 and 2-1 in Game 7e Part — alongside Friday’s win in Denver.

Will he win again tonight? Very clever who can push it forward. One thing is for sure, the Lightning will play their 52 tonighte and last home game of the season: 41 in regular season, 11 in playoffs.


Andrei Vasilevskiy, of course, played a leading role in those three wins, signed in possibly one-night matches. He’ll play a bigger one if the Bolts force a seventh game. And, of course, when they win the Stanley Cup.

Put simply, the Lightning goalie is the cornerstone of his team. Especially since the start of the finals, when he’s faced 35 or more jump-offs in four of the five games played so far.

The 4-3 defeats in extra time and the 7-0 in the final’s opener indicated that the Russian goalkeeper might be tiring. That maybe he wasn’t as dominant as his reputation suggests.

Since then he has recovered well.

In fact, three of the last five goals he’s conceded have been the result of pucks being accidentally deflected in front of him by one of his teammates or an opponent. Such bad luck should not discourage the goalkeeper, much less his team-mates.

“Vasi is the best goalkeeper in the world. He is a rock before the gate. We’re in the Stanley Cup final. Bad luck is part of the game and you have no right to be affected by bad luck like that,” said Pat Maroon, defending his goalkeeper’s goals from the start of the final.

One thing is certain: despite the 18 goals the Avalanche have scored since the start of the final, Andreï Vasilevskiy far outshines Darcy Kuemper, whose ‘gifts’ here and there don’t exactly inspire too much confidence.

I would even add that if Vasilevskiy had defended Avalanche’s net and Kuemper defended Lightning’s, the series would have been decided in four games and the Stanley Cup would already have been parading on the streets of Denver.

Advantage of the ice rink?

The Lightning have been 8-2 at home since the start of the playoffs. A win tonight would tie a franchise record. A record set in 2004 (9 wins, 4 losses) and equaled last year (9 wins, 3 losses).

Brayden Point will not be in play. The center player was on the ice with his teammates Sunday morning, but Jon Cooper assured he couldn’t count on him.

“Brayden suffered a serious injury. In the event of a seventh game, maybe he could join us,” said the Bolts boss, who also hinted his team hasn’t had the best hockey since the start of the season.

Cooper has to go get it tonight.

The Avalanche come to Tampa with a record of eight wins in nine games away from Denver since the start of the playoffs. That’s two away wins short of the record (10) shared by six teams, including the St. Louis Blues, who tied in their first win of 2019.

MacKinnon: a bomb about to explode

After his team’s morning training session, Jared Bednar stressed, as always, that he wants to count on all his players tonight. Andre Burakovsky, who accompanied the team to Tampa, remains a very dubious case.

“His absence creates a big gap because he transports the puck very effectively into the opponent’s zone, not forgetting that he offers us very big goals,” commented the head coach of Avs.

Burakowski has missed the last three games after opening the Grand Final with a goal and two assists in the first two games. He has three goals and eight points since the start of the playoffs.

Defender Cale Makar, who will no doubt win the Conn-Smythe Trophy if the Avalanche wins, is leading the Avs’ offense.

He has scored three goals and collected eight points in the final so far. He scored in all five games. In fact, he’s picked up at least a point in 14 of the Avalanche’s 19 games since the start of the playoffs. Nineteen games in which he scored eight goals and 29 points.

This production makes up for Nathan MacKinnon’s timidness since the beginning of the finale. MacKinnon is very involved in the games. He orchestrates a lot of offensive shots in the opponent’s zone and has a lot of puck control. Maybe too much.

MacKinnon criticizes the fact that he has scored only one goal since the start of the final – he added three assists.

I do not mind. But if we analyze the games he’s played, you have to look at the quality of work the Lightning has done at his expense.

MacKinnon has fired 58 shots since the finals began. That’s an average of 11.6 per game. It’s huge!

Andrei Vasilevskiy blocked 27 of MacKinnon’s 28 shots that hit the target. In front of Vasilevskiy, his teammates blocked 22 pucks. That means only eight of MacKinnon’s 58 shots missed the target.

With so much fire, it’s surprising MacKinnon didn’t score more often. And that should worry the Lightnings and their fans, because it’s bound to come at some point!

Good match!

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