Tampa Bay: seems to still be very good!
Well, here we are, back to where we started – and closer to answering a question we asked earlier this season. With a 2-1 victory at Tampa Bay on Saturday night, Lightning took their place in the Stanley Cup final for the third year in a row, with captain Steven Stamkos scoring both goals, and now flirting with all-time greatness. .
Whatever your goal of victory, New York Rangers goalkeeper Igor Shesterkin is neither to blame for the game nor the outcome of the series. Shesterkin played a great series. Tampa does just that for the team: they have done it 11 times directly in the last three years. Whether the Rangers were tired of the previous two series or not, as they both went out of seven games, Tampa made them. view get tired. After Games 1 and 2, Tampa got out of the chance, came out, passed and finally scored a goal, Rangers. New York was also talented – this has happened a lot lately with teams that are not facing Lightning. Jon Cooper has a lot to work with, but he is also an effective communicator: he is more of a business manager than a classical hockey coach.
However, here is how he played on the ice: After becoming the first team to win in three years against Lightning goalkeeper Andrei Vasilevskiy, the Rangers stopped scoring goals. New York have scored nine goals in their first two games, but have conceded just five goals in their last four quarters – only one of them has been scored forcefully. It just doesn’t cut it. Tampa Bay is just a very disciplined team, very willing to play tough defense when it comes to counting, and owns a very good goalkeeper who relies on his power play to break them.
You need to be able to reach them in all situations. You have to be a team like the Colorado Avalanche.
The Avalanche is an offensive machine
There were probably only two points in the regular season that made the Colorado Avalanche look like a normal hockey team: in the beginning, when they went out the door, and in the end, when they went 1-6 in their own. the last seven games. But that was the last length or a complete mistake or lie. In any case we should not be deceived. The fact is that the Avalanche is a hockey machine.
Just look at what they did to Edmonton. Oh my god. Still, here’s the thing: although the Oilers washed, their offensive performance was very good! In most other cases, that will likely mean success of the series. Take a look at this match from JFreshHockey five-on-five to 60 minutes.
In fact, Colorado is already a historic power. As Neil Paine wrote in FiveThirtyEight this week, this Avalanche team is ranked 10th in all Stanley Cup finalists in the standings per game until the final round and only tied with the 1982-83 Edmonton Oilers for a second win. . hundredth line. The 2022 Oilers, by themselves, is a very good hockey team. But the Oilers are not a good enough hockey team to be able to defeat Colorado’s Avalanche. A team that is good enough to defeat the Avalanche will have to play highly disciplined defensive hockey, have a club goalkeeper, and have the ability to catch a strong attack.
Oh, and one more thing: they will need to be able to give Cale Makar their due. Not an easy thing to do, because if we can learn anything from the Avalanche-Oilers series, it ku
Makar can see the matrix
The debate over the NHL’s best player usually focuses on two players: Auston Matthews and Connor McDavid. This is understandable, because of their ability to aim and general magic. Colorado pioneer Nathan MacKinnon also occasionally joins the conversation. As always, perhaps the best player is actually his friend, defender Cale Makar.
Makar has averaged 22 points in his last 14 playoff games. He averages 10 points during the first round of the Nashville Predators, the most scored by a defender in four playoff games to date. It also includes the five he scored in Colorado’s last game against the Oilers, a one-game number that Al MacInnis has not won in the playoffs since 1994 as a defender. Makar’s closest defensive rival this past season, Rangers defender Adam Fox, had 23 points… but through 20 games. Nothing kept Fox away, nor was it his duty to hide McDavid. It was Makar. And did it without having to.
Makar sees the matrix and does it as he wishes. Makar is one.
There is a superstition surrounding NHL conference championship trophies: that winning the Clarence Campbell Bowl (West) or the Prince of Wales (East) trophy will curse your team from being condemned to the Stanley Cup. It is also customary that if the team stands with both trophies, they celebrate it with faces. The logic, if you want to tell him, is that he is not real. The theory is, of course, hogwash: many teams that have won both trophies have won the Stanley Cup. But tradition has it that no one is really interested in conference hockey championships. Only the Stanley Cup matters. But it is still fun to watch a team discussion at the right time whether or not to choose a superstitious belief together – or which version of it.
Joe Sakic clearly does not listen to superstition. But can other coincidences make sense? As mentioned, this Avalanche team has the best playoff record of success since 1982-83 Oilers reaching the Final. As it turns out, those painters were facing the islands of New York – and were wrecked. It was the Stanley Cup Island’s third winner, the last time a three-pointer occurred.
Before the series Against the Islands in the spring of 1983, Oilers general manager Glen Sather told the New York Times: “I do not see that we are very different from the Isles of the Islands. want to replace them. ” Thinking about their loss years later, Oilers saw what the differences really were. Grant Fuhr said in 2019, “They were a little more disciplined than us and might have a better work ethic,” Wayne Gretzky said. “They were not even celebrating. I was thinking ‘They are not tired. I guess there is more to give.’ Paul Coffey said.
Lightning has proven this season why they are the first of those island islands to play in a row for the third Cup. Now, here comes the Avalanche: a team with goals, fast, dynamic from the west. The vibes of the 80s are strong now.
Will we get three-peat?
I’m often disappointed in the predictions, but this is a collection that feels right from the start of next season – probably because it looks like the guard is about to change. But now is the time? Colorado will give Tampa Bay its even tougher challenge. They will catch their breath and they will stay hungry. They are undoubtedly the toughest opponents Lightning has faced in the final: they are a better team than Dallas or Montreal. Avalanche can do everything it needs to do to strike Lightning, without question. But I do not believe they will. Tampa feels deeper, mentally as a team. And while Brayden Point is likely to return, they will also be deeper attackers. Tampa would consider Colorado – or at least Vasilevskiy would, and that might be all that matters.
A few months ago, my money was in Colorado. Now, I think Tampa Bay will make three-peat. But we will get six big hockey games before that.