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Battle of The Storms: Colorado and Tampa Bay battle for sports greatest trophy

Updated: Jun 15, 2022

Denver, Colorado: Tonight is game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals (8 est.) in which the Tampa Bay Lightning are looking to win their third consecutive Stanley Cup facing off versus the Colorado Avalanche. However, Colorado is favored and been unmatched so far in the postseason. This should be a riveting finals as Colorado's high powered offense goes up against last year's playoff MVP in goalie Andrei Vasilevsky of Tampa Bay.

(Eastern Conference Tampa Bay Lightning, photo from NHL.com)

The Lightning have been the toast of the hockey world winning the last two Stanley Cups and winning 11 straight playoff series, unprecedented in the modern era. Colorado has enjoyed postseason success but has struggled to get to a cup final. After winning the Presidents trophy last year for having the most points of any team, they lost in the second round of the playoffs. This year however the Avalanche led by league's best young defenseman in Cale Maker and Nate McKinnon had the best record in the Western Conference and have been dominant in the postseason.

Colorado's road to the Stanley Cup has been one of ease, only losing two playoff games so far. Their offense has been electric scoring 65 goals in just 14 games played while not letting anything up on defense. They swept their first round opponents in Nashville and then took out the St. Louis Blues in 5 games. However, their talent was fully displayed in the conference finals vs the Edmonton Oilers in which they not only swept them but did it in a game 4 comeback on the road. In their series against the Oilers, Colorado proved that they could win by shutting out one of the best offenses in the game with the best player in Connor McDavid. The Avalanche also have a dynamic offense in which they scored 4 goals in the third period of game 4 vs Edmonton and another in overtime to win 6-5. This firepower should prove troubling to Tampa as one of their best defensemen Brayden Point comes back from an injury.


(Colorado Avalanche, photo from USA Today)

Tampa Bay's road to a possible three-peat has been bumpy. Finishing third in their division to end the year led them to a first round matchup against the Toronto Maple Leafs in which they were down 3 games to 2 before coming back and winning game 7 in Toronto. After that comeback victory, they swept their in state rival Florida Panthers who had the best record and offense in the NHL. In the conference finals, falling behind 2-0 in the series opposing the New York Rangers stormed back winning 4 straight games.

The worry of Colorado is its goaltending which was subpar against Edmonton and is their main weakness. Tampa's way to victory lies in continuing the goaltending edge and putting continual pressure on Colorado's lackluster goaltending whom neither have above a 0.91 save percentage. While Vasilevsky has been lights out posting a 0.928 save percentage. The Lightning would not have made it out of the first round if not for Vasilevsky's dominance and step up in big moments.

Tampa Bay has the experience, talent and goaltending to win their third consecutive championship but have shown vulnerabilities and may not be able to handle Colorado's firepower. The Avalanche after years of playoff disappointments have easily handled this year's playoff opponents and should be able to compete with Tampa. This series should be a close one but I believe that Colorado will deny Tampa's place in the history books winning in 6 competitive games.



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