*) . . . . . . . . . . (*. . . . . . . . . . (*_) . . . . . (*_ HTML3_ The Colorado Avalanche will be facing the Lightning in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Avalanche performed significantly better than the Lightning during the regular season. While the Lightning entered the Playoffs tied with fourth in Eastern Conference points, the Avalanche came in first in Western Conference seedings.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are using their experience to make their third Stanley Cup appearance after three years. It seemed impossible when the Lightning were up against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the First Round. After winning Games Six, Seven and Seven on their home turf and at home, the Lightning lost 3-2. However they won the series. Tampa Bay swept the Florida Panthers in the Second Round, and they easily won the round. The Lightning won every game except Game Two by at least two goals. In the Stanley Cup Semifinals, the Lightning met the New York Rangers. The Lightning lost Games One, Two and Three in New York. However, they followed up with four consecutive wins.
The Lightning saw four veteran players put in very good Playoff performances. Nikita Kucherov, Ondrej Palat, Steven Stamkos, and Victor Hedman have combined for 68 points in 17 Playoff games. They are the leaders of the Lightning both on and off the ice, and they have proved it with their Playoff performance.
Andrei Vasilevskiy is in complete control of the Playoffs’ goaltender. Vasilevskiy is seeing over 31 shots a game and is only giving up 2. 27 goals per match. He will probably see all of the Stanley Cup Finals, except if he is injured.
The Colorado Avalanche made easy work of their rivals and lost only two games during the Playoffs. The First Round saw Colorado take on the Nashville Predators and they put on a great show. They scored 21 goals in four games and swept Nashville. In the Second Round, however, the Avalanche lost Games Two through Five. They won Games One through Six, Three, Four and Four and then moved on to the next round. In the Stanley Cup Semifinals Colorado was faced with a strong Oilers team, but it didn’t seem that mattered. Colorado defeated Edmonton, and won the Stanley Cup Semifinals.
The Avalanche average over 4.5 goals per match in the Playoffs. These numbers are largely due to Cale Makar and Nathan Mackinnon as well as Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog. These four players are averaging over one point a game and have combined for 74 points in 14 games.
The Avalanche are in a difficult goaltending position but they feel comfortable with the person who will start Game One. Darcy Kuemper played in all three rounds, but was injured during Game One. Pavel Francouz assumed the role and had a better save percentage than Kuemper. Although the Avalanche has not yet announced their starting Game One player, they are in great shape. The Avalanche will win Game One because they have an offensive advantage and are at home.
Head-to-Head: Tampa Bay Lightning vs Colorado Avalanche
Tampa Bay Lightning Head-to-Head Colorado Avalanche Jon Cooper Head Coach Jared Bednar 51-23-8 (3rd in Atlantic Division) Standing 56-19-7 (1st in Central Division) Leaders Nikita Kucherov (23) Points Cale Makar (22) Steven Stamkos (9) Goals Nathan MacKinnon (11) Nikita Kucherov (16) Assists Cale Makar (17) Ondrej Palat (9) +/- Gabriel Landeskog (14) Nikita Kucherov (3. 53) Shots (Per Game) Nathan MacKinnon (5. 86)
Why Might the Tampa Bay Lightning Win?
The Tampa Bay Lightning are underdogs, but they can win Game One if Nathan MacKinnon is stopped and scored the first goal.
Nathan MacKinnon has scored three goals in the last four games and 11 goals in 14 Playoff games. The Lightning’s defense should slow him down because he is dangerous.
The Lightning have won four consecutive games and are gaining momentum. The Lightning need to continue their momentum and score the first goal of this series.
Why might the Colorado Avalanche win?
The Colorado Avalanche is the favorite and they will win if Steven Stamkos slows down and draws penalties.
The Avalanche are converting over 31% of their power-plays in the Playoffs. The Avalanche must find ways to avoid penalties and gain a man advantage.
Both of the Lightning’s goals were scored by Steven Stamkos in Game Six against the Rangers. This is a dangerous game for him.
Lightning key players: (C) Steven Stamkos
This was not an unexpected choice. Lightning’s most recently hero is Stamkos, who also happens to be one of the team’s veteran leaders.
Stamkos must take control of his team before the game begins. He needs to remind the team that they have been there before.
Avalanche Key Player (D) Cole Makar
Cole Makar was either a goal scorer or an assister on six of Colorado’s goals. He now has 17 assists and is playing over 27 minutes a game.
Makar doesn’t need to make any changes going into the game. His only responsibility is to continue looking for and setting up his teammates.
Bet on NHL Here!
How to Watch Tampa Bay Lightning vs Colorado Avalanche
Tampa Bay Lightning vs Colorado Avalanche Information What Tampa Bay Lightning vs Colorado Avalanche Where Ball Arena, Denver, Colorado When Wednesday, June 15, 8: 00 PM EST How to Watch ABC