Lightning and Avalanche’s Stanley Cup Final chess match continues with Game 2 Saturday

Jon Cooper told him Tampa Bay Lightning the players in the locker room after their loss in game 1, they need to be a lot better to take down Colorado Avalanche in the Stanley Cup final.

After a day off, they have to work to figure out how to do it.

The two-time Lightning defending champion is no stranger to making adjustments and returning in the playoff series. Their biggest test started with trying to slow down the speed Avalanche, who has his own tweaks to make in a chess match that has now entered Game 2 on Saturday night.

“We’re analyzing the game by region, by special teams, by breakouts, and by pre-checks,” Cooper said. “There’s a lot of different things that go into it.”

READ MORE: Lightning didn’t flinch when being beaten 1-0 by Avalanche in the Stanley Cup series

Based on the lack of familiarity with facing an opponent from the opposite, starting a final is a much more learning process than the previous series in the knockout stages, and it has to go through – and sometimes get confused – Colorado’s pace so Tampa Bay knows exactly what to expect.

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“You can never really understand it until you feel it in that first game,” striker Nick Paul said on Friday. “They definitely have pace in their entire squad, and they love to attack and score goals.

“They read really well whether they’re trying to dump a pile of money or when to try and take it, so you’re constantly trying to give yourself some good space to force them to get the cloth out of their hands. ”

Colorado Avalanche right wing Mikko Rantanen (96) and guard Jack Johnson (3) compete for the ball during NHL hockey practice, before Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals, Friday, June 17, 2022, in Denver. (AP Photo / John Locher).

(AP Photo / John Locher)

Doing with the shot was a big focus for each team in practice Friday. After star defender Cale Makar failed to hit goal for the first time in all of the playoffs, despite being one of the NHL’s best players to do so, Avalanche had to find a way to block the keeper. Andrei Vasilevskiy of Tampa Bay.

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READ MORE: Avalanche forward Nazem Kadri skates with a stick for the first time since injuring his thumb

They expected Lightning to block a lot of shots, and they did by taking a 25 lead in Game 1. There will be some tweaking, but don’t expect the Colorado players to hesitate about shooting.

“You still have to throw it there,” said guard Josh Manson. “You don’t want to just stick to it and try to find that perfect path. So I think we have to do it: keep moving our feet and throw it there. “

Getting enemies out of their defenses is vital to Lightning, knowing what can happen when Avalanche is on the attack. A major focus from the coaching staff was to place speed bumps in a way that was possible without having to issue an unnecessary jam penalty.

“The most important thing is to make sure you lie down, whether it’s a strong hit, whether it’s a nudge, and stand up because they switch so quickly,” says Paul. “You’re just reading, staying on top of the men and trying to drive sales.”

Each side is focused on trying to cut down on errors.

For Makar, it was defending better than him when Nikita Kucherov moved to score Ondrej Palat’s goal in the opener. Norris Tropy finalist Victor Hedman said in Swedish that he needs to get better after a rough night in game 1.

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READ MORE: Avalanche beat Lightning in extra time to usher in the Stanley Cup Finals

The Lightning also expect Vasilevskiy to be better after conceding at least one light goal and perhaps two opening goals. It was the first time he’d scored three goals in the first phase of the playoffs of his NHL career.

History shows that Vasilevskiy will bring out his full potential. Tampa Bay are leading 18-1 after losing their last three games, and their stellar goalkeeper has a lot to do with that, saving 509 of 542 shots, averaging 1.57 goals vs. and 0.939 save rate.

Hedman said: “Vasy, his mental strength was beyond the world. “We are very confident to have him back there. The record is not a fluke, but we can’t count on it either.

“We just need to go out there and do our game plan a little bit better than we did in game 1 and give Vasy a little more help: Let him see the highlights, he will make those stops. But it helps to have the best guy in the world back there. ”

© 2022 The Associated Press

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