Stanley Cup Finals 2022 – Why Colorado Avalanche’s Stanley Cup Finals Must Be Believed

After dominating three rounds of their post-season competition, Colorado Avalanche heading to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Avs superstars delivered, like Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar are all strong cases for Conn Smythe. But they also get great production from specialized players, including a massive goal from Artturi Lehkonen in game 4 against Edmonton Oilers. With their second series after the season, Avalanche took just 14 games to get past three opponents.

What makes the Av so fun to watch – and so hard for the opposition to defeat? Let’s explore the key factors as Colorado is one step closer to the Cup.

Yes, Colorado is that good

Let’s start with the facts: In eliminating Edmonton, Avalanche became only the sixth team in the past 20 seasons to make it past the series finals. That puts Colorado in a position of corporate elite — but not necessarily a quick Stanley Cup win. Only two of those five teams – 2009 Anaheim Ducks and 2010 Chicago Blackhawks – keep lifting the Cup. Ducks 2003 and 2019 Boston Bruins lost in game 7 of the respective Cup final. In 2013 the Bruins lost in game 6.

This Colorado team is its own unique animal. We’ve seen them do it all. Avalanche wipe out their first series first Nashville Predators without starting the goal Darcy Kuemper available for almost half of it. They did the same in the Oilers sweep conference finals, relying on Pavel Francouz as they would Kuemper. Goalkeepers can make or break a playoff series; Colorado has rolled whether Kuemper and Francouz are dominant or pretty.

It’s the same insulting story. When Avalanche’s upline didn’t open fire, its second and third units scored just-in-time, or Colorado got a key contribution from some unlikely heroes (e.g.: Darren HelmThe goal left 5.6 seconds in the 6th game against St. Louis to beat Colorado to qualify for the finals). That is not luck. It’s a team built to win.

Yes, Avalanche has quality, impressive players. They’re not the only reason where Colorado is. And that’s what makes the Avalanche so deadly, the many layers of excellence that make them hard to describe – or defend. Look at the physical effort of Andre Burakovsky – was injured once in this series – early Game 4 to escape the Colorado ending. In Colorado there is a clear desire to achieve the goal.

Like Nathan MacKinnon eloquently after Colorado’s 4-2 Game 3 win over the Oilers, the Avalanche were happy to play defensively-heavy “boring and gross” hockey as they scored eight goals.

Avalanche can adapt to any situation

One of the most impressive things about the Colorado is the way they rotate. When one area of ​​the team falters, another will come through.

Consider Colorado’s power struggles early in the series against Edmonton. Avalanche has the NHL’s seventh-best power stat in the regular season (24%) but through the first three games, Colorado is 2-14 (14.3%) in terms of power play, the lowest performance of the game. with any team left in the field after the season. No problem. Instead, Avalanche just dominated 5 to 5 and created a real advantage, scoring 14 goals of equal strength and averaging more than 5 goals per game in this streak. And their power play came to life in Game 4, scoring on both occasions.

That’s just another example of how Avalanche hasn’t let any roadblocks slow their progress. If a problem arises, Colorado has a solution. They don’t get bogged down in overthinking, overplaying, or straying from the basic structure of what makes them a good team. It speaks to the confidence that Colorado coach Jared Bednar clearly has in his team – and his players’ confidence in each other – that Avalanche really isn’t showing any signs of panic. no matter how good or bad the game goes. Cool heads always prevail.

Relying on a long time laid off

The Tampa Bay Lightning had more than a week off between their second round sweep Florida Panthers and start the Eastern Conference finals against New York Ranger.

There is rust. The Lightning lost game 1, 6-2. Then they lost game 2, 3-2. Rangers exploded with a previous Game 7 victory Hurricane Carolina and have all the momentum on their side. Will those initial losses ultimately determine the fate of Tampa Bay?

More importantly for Colorado, would the Av people head for similarly difficult waters?

There may be several days of practice ahead for Colorado before it plays another competitive game. It’s not an ideal scenario, but it’s one that Avalanche has experienced after this season.

Colorado eliminated Nashville in Game 4 on May 9. It did not open a second series against St. Louis for eight days, and still played Game 1, 3-2 in extra time. Avalanche may have felt the effects of the layoffs, but – as mentioned above – Colorado isn’t bogged down by adversity.

There could also be positives to the game that awaits. Players have the opportunity to recover and restore fitness. The longer Tampa and New York rage, the closer Nazem Kadri (broken thumb) is likely to appear in the Cup Final. Avalanche requires no practice or hard work at this stage. They have already shown their courage. Perhaps the biggest challenge will be mental, and staying sharp for what will be a defining career moment, the most stressful for a large group on the Colorado roster.

Play with whom? Or not play?

Coaches and players will never admit to favoring one opponent or playing against another. But we can do it for them.

Colorado took a 2-0 lead last season against both Tampa Bay and New York (one of the wins over the Lightning was in the penalty shootout).

There is an argument made to avoid the Lightning simply because of how resilient they were in the knockout stages – overcoming a 2-0 deficit to start the Eastern Conference finals would add to the sentence. that thing – and the mentality they possess in looking for peat three.

But Rangers have also been quite resilient. Finishing the Hurricanes after losing the first two games of their second series has (correctly) injected confidence for Rangers. The Blueshirts pushed Lightning early in the game’s finals, and have barely given up an inch of ground since.

Whichever team comes out of that series will be a formidable opponent for Colorado. And there’s a world-class goalscorer waiting regardless, in New York Igor Shesterkin or Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy.

As we said, Avalanche mastered every category. All things being equal, Colorado goes well against either team as the Avalanche are adaptable and can pull from different aspects of their game as required.

Maybe it’s to avoid the mystique of Tampa Bay, which is why Colorado can – secretly – pull in the Rangers. New York’s depth is very strong, the ability to score great, it’s a group of physical strength and a solid defence. Avs-Rangers is going to be a great series. And – the bonus – will give us all a new Trophy champion after two years of the Lightning on top.

Difficult holiday for Kadri

The more time Colorado has before the next round kicks off, the better for Kadri. He broke his thumb when Evander Kane get him into Game 3 with Edmonton, and Kadri will be motivated to make the first Cup Final of his career.

Colorado will be equally hopeful with Kadri’s return. The striker has scored six goals and 14 points in the knockout stages so far and really shines when playing with Mikko Rantanen and Artturi Lehkonen against the Oilers. Andre Burakovsky has moved on to play a second-line role for Avalanche with Kadri absent, and could be a good replacement there in the future. But if Colorado faces a completely healthy Tampa Bay or New York roster, Kadri’s absence could be a bigger factor.

Not just because Kadri is a consistent performer and contributor across the scoreboard. He’s also good in the head-to-head (50.5% in the post-season), has earned many minutes of power play (3:11 per game) and of course has a way to take anyone down. Invisibility often comes to the fore at this time of year, and Kadri can be particularly useful for Colorado.

Jared Bednar hasn’t announced the health status of any players in the post-season, so it’s unlikely he’ll provide an update on Kadri anytime soon. What we do know for sure is that Colorado is better off with Kadri than without him.

Source link


News7h: Update the world's latest breaking news online of the day, breaking news, politics, society today, international mainstream news .Updated news 24/7: Entertainment, the World everyday world. Hot news, images, video clips that are updated quickly and reliably

Related Articles

Back to top button