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Avalanche defeats Lightning and wins the Stanley Cup for the third time

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The Associated Press

Associated Press

Stephen Whyno

Tampa, Florida (AP) —Colorado Avalanche returns to the top of the hockey mountain after defeating two defending champions. ..

Behind Nathan McKinnon's goals and assists, Avalanche defeated Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 in Game 6 for the third time in franchise history, winning the Stanley Cup for the first time in more than 20 years. Last Sunday night.

This is the first title in this core group, led by McKinnon, Captain Gabriel Landeskog, Mikkolantanen and Kale McCarr, following years of playoff disappointment. Avalanche lost in each second round of the last three seasons after being knocked out in the first round of 2018.

With a combination of speed, high-end talent, and experience gained, Colorado has broken through this time — knocking out the team that has lifted the cup for the past two years. By doing so, I won every bit of the championship. Like a completely expected avalanche, it has never been so easy.

Avalanche tied it when McKinnon defeated 2021 playoff MVP Andrei Vasilevsky with an almost perfect shot after Macar's early turnover leading to Stephen Stemkos' goal. .. Obtaining a trading deadline With Artturi Lehkonen, we have achieved another major goal. They grabbed the puck and contained things by preventing Tampa Bay from shooting the puck at Darcy Kaempfer in the third phase.

He was there when they did. Last summer he was traded in from Arizona to support the sport's most important position. Kaempfer was once again solid, and when he slid to deny the skilled winger Nikitakcherov, he made the most important saves with less than seven minutes remaining.

Avalanche's general manager, as Lightning has done many times by trading high-draft picks and prospects to win the best chances of winning the cup. Joe Sakick was not afraid to buy Reconen, defense Joshmanson and veteran forward Andrew Colliano in March. They have shown a lot of playoff promises and are a perfect complement to Colorado's core, which previously hadn't created a championship.

Sakic, captain of Colorado's first two title-winning teams in 1996 and 2001, used his familiar recipe to get over the team's hump. Like Pierre Lacroix, the architect of the avalanche team, who had great success after the organization moved to Denver, Sakic prioritized skill, speed and versatility.

Its speed overwhelmed all opponents, from the opening sweep in Nashville to the fierce six-game series with St. Louis, Edmonton, and another sweep in Tampa Bay. Once stopped the defeat, but did not become NHL's first three-peat champion since the New York Islanders dynasty in the early 1980s, scoring two wins.

"They are a team that aims to be a dynasty," Macar said. "We are a team that is about to start Legacy."

Thanks to stable coach Jared Bednar, who found a way to focus the team on the mission at hand in the sixth season since the start of the training camp. , Its heritage will eventually include the championship. That spirit helped him overcome the avalanche, making Bednar the first coach to win the Stanley Cup, the American Hockey League Calder Cup, and ECHL's Kelly Cup.

Bednar won a chess match against Jon Cooper, who is also the Stanley and Calder Cup champion, considered one of the best tacticians in the NHL. But since its success in 2020, things have piled up against Lightning, which faces the toughest competition. Almost anything. Depth allowed Avalanche to overcome the defensive Samuel Girard, who lost due to a broken sternum, and finish Lightning without overtime in Cup Final Game 1. Right thumb.

Avalanche defeated Lightning before Thread made many sacrifices and before the terrifying possibility of facing a defeat in Round 7. Stanley Cup.

Less emotional than the last two years when Gary Bettman presented the trophy to Stamkos, the victory at the end of the Colorado series marks another completion of the NHL season during the pandemic. Playoff format since 2019. The postponement of dozens of games and the withdrawal from the Olympics are not without stumbling blocks.

Avalanches and Lightning have dealt with the stormy ice conditions that occur in late June. This should not move forward when the league returns to its normal schedule. When that happens, Colorado has the opportunity to defend its crown and pursue Tampa Bay to retain perennial cup candidates.


Denver AP sports writer Pat Graham contributed to this report.



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