TAMPA, Fla. — The Colorado Avalanche became Stanley Cup champions for the first time in 21 years. For this she switched off the two-time defending champion.
The Avalanche defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 on Sunday to win the finals series in six games.
“Everything led to this moment,” noted Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar, who won the Conn-Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.
This is the third title for the Avalanche in their history and a first crowning achievement since 2001.
Nathan MacKinnon was the catalyst for his side with a goal and an assist while Artturi Lehkonen scored the winner. The Avalanche’s two goals came in midfield.
It is the first title for core Avalanche side led by MacKinnon, captain Gabriel Landeskog, Mikko Rantanen and Makar after multiple early eliminations from the playoffs, in the second round in the last three seasons and in the first round in 2018.
“It’s incredible,” MacKinnon admitted. After a few harder years in the middle, but now it’s over. We never stopped believing in it. »
Almost ten years after being named club captain, Landeskog became the first team to win the Stanley Cup. He then presented the prestigious trophy to defender Erik Johnson, the oldest member of the team.
After defeating the Nashville Predators in the first round and beating the St. Louis Blues in six games, the Avalanche also defeated the Edmonton Oilers in the Western Conference Finals. She finished the playoffs with a 16-4 record.
The Lightning were two wins away from becoming the first team to win three titles since the New York Islanders in the 1980s.
“It’s a team trying to establish itself as a dynasty,” Makar said. We are a team trying to start a dynasty. »
When asked how other teams can replicate the Avalanche’s success, Landeskog replied, “Go get a Cale Makar.”
Makar won the Conn-Smythe after leading the Avalanche with 29 points in 20 games.
Steven Stamkos, who scored just under four minutes into the opening game, was the Lightning’s only goalscorer.
Darcy Kuemper stopped 22 shots in the win. His counterpart, Andrei Vasilevskiy, made 28 saves.
Avalanche Head Coach Jared Bednar became the first driver to win the Kelly Cup (ECHL), Calder Cup (AHL), and Stanley Cup.
Quebecers Samuel Girard and Nicolas Aubé-Kubel, who lost the Stanley Cup before the traditional photo with the trophy, were crowned champions for the first time in their careers.
Striker Patrick Maroon’s streak of three championships has come to an end. However, Corey Perry extended his losing streak to three at the Stanley Cup Finals. He had lowered his flag with the Dallas Stars in 2020 and the Montreal Canadiens in 2021.
The Lightning again had to do without the star center Brayden Point.
For their part, the Avalanche had to deal with the absence of the hero of the first game, the overtime top scorer Andre Burakovsky, who had been injured since the second confrontation of the series.
A fight like a trench war
The Lightning got off to a great start. After an inconclusive power play, he opened the gate to 3:48.
The avalanche raises the precious trophy
After a zone exit that obstructed Makar, the puck bounced off Ondrej Palat’s skate before landing on Stamkos’ stick. The Lightning captain simply slipped the disc between Kuemper’s pads to give the hosts the lead.
Late in the first half, opportunities for the Avalanche began to arise. Nazem Kadri was frustrated by Vasilevskiy before Lehkonen’s distraction hit the post with full force minutes later.
Just 1:54 after returning from the dressing room at the start of the second frame, the Avalanche tied the game. Bowen Byram passed the puck to MacKinnon, who unsheathed upon receiving. His slapshot went just under Vasilevskiy’s shield.
Josh Manson and MacKinnon went down three to two at 12:28 in the second period, trying to combine forces to score. However, MacKinnon’s pass was blocked by a Lightning player but landed on the paddle of teammate Lehkonen, who beat Vasilevskiy with a shot into the top far corner.
The Flash seemed frustrated with the storyline and committed several wrongdoings. Ryan McDonagh hit Darren Helm hard near the boards and Stamkos shot the puck at an official.
ContentId(3.1408920):NHL Finals: The Avalanche dethrones the doubles champions
The Avalanche didn’t slow down in the third period either and continued to create a few scoring chances. Vasilevskiy, however, withstood the shots and made the Lightning believe in a comeback.
Nikita Kucherov had one of his best chances in the third period when his one-timer was blocked by Kuemper just under seven minutes from time. It was only the second shot by Jon Cooper’s men in that period.
With just over two minutes left, the Lightning Vasilevskiy retired in favor of a sixth skater, but to no avail.
The Colorado Avalanche win the Stanley Cup by beating the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games.
First championship for former Canadian Artturi Lehkonen, who scored the game’s deciding goal. 🤩 pic.twitter.com/gt90mBxlyX
—RDS (@RDSca) June 27, 2022
Captain Stamkos doesn’t waste time!
MacKinnon ties in with One-Timer
The winning goal belongs to Lehkonen!
“I am so proud of our group”
MacKinnon wins 1st Cup after 9 seasons
Makar named MVP
Aubé-Kubel escapes the trophy before the team photo!