The 2022 Stanley Cup Final is set and it will be the Colorado Avalanche against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
This will be the Avalanche’s first appearance in the Cup Final since they won it all in 2001 in seven games over the New Jersey Devils for the second title in franchise history. The Lightning, on the other hand, are looking to win for the third consecutive season and fourth time in franchise history.
It’s been a pretty easy road for the Avalanche in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs with two sweeps on their way to the Cup Final. They opened the postseason by dispatching the Nashville Predators in four games, then moved on to top the St. Louis Blues in six. In the Western Conference Final they swept the Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and the Edmonton Oilers to reach their third Cup Final.
The Lightning faced three series deficits in the First Round, but eventually dispatched the Toronto Maple Leafs in seven games. In the Second Round it was a rematch of last season with the Florida Panthers, the NHL’s 2021-22 Presidents’ Trophy winners. That series ended in six days with Tampa Bay finishing off a four-game sweep of their intrastate rivals. They would drop the opening two games of the Eastern Conference Final against the New York Rangers before reeling off four straight to punch their ticket to another Cup Final.
[NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2022 schedule, TV info]
Should the Lightning win a third Cup in a row, they would become the first NHL team to do so since the 1980-83 New York Islanders. There have been five three-peat attempts since that Islanders dynasty, all of which have failed:
• 1985-86 Edmonton Oilers lost in seven games to the Calgary Flames in the Pacific Division Final in seven games.
• 1988-89 Oilers lost in seven games to the Los Angeles Kings in the Pacific Division Semifinal.
• 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins lost to the Islanders in seven games in the Patrick Division Final.
• 1998-99 Detroit Red Wings lost to the Avalanche in six games in the Western Conference Semifinal.
• 2017-18 Penguins lost to the Washington Capitals in six games in the Second Round.
The 2022 Stanley Cup Final will also see Lightning forward Pat Maroon try to win his fourth consecutive title. Before becoming a member of the back-to-back Tampa Bay championship teams he won a Cup with the St. Louis Blues in 2019.
As both teams prepare for Game 1, which will be Wednesday, June 15 at Ball Arena in Colorado, there are injury concerns. Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar said he his “hopeful” that Nazem Kadri (thumb surgery) and Andrew Cogliano (hand surgery) will be able to play in the Cup Final. For the Lightning, Brayden Point has been skating daily but not played since Game 7 of their First Round series against Toronto due to a lower-body injury.
Bednar also has a decision to make for his Game 1 goaltender. Darcy Kuemper has not played since Game 1 of the Western Conference Final. Pavel Francouz finished out the series in net for the Avalanche. Kuemper backed up Francouz in Game 4 against the Oilers and said he is back to 100% after dealing with an upper-body injury.
2022 NHL playoff schedule: Stanley Cup Final
COLORADO AVALANCHE v. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
Game 1 – June 15: Lightning at Avalanche, 8 p.m. ET (ABC, ESPN+, SN, CBC, TVA Sports)
Game 2 – June 18: Lightning at Avalanche, 8 p.m. ET (ABC, ESPN+, SN, CBC, TVA Sports)
Game 3 – June 20: Avalanche at Lightning, 8 p.m. ET (ABC, ESPN+, SN, CBC, TVA Sports)
Game 4 – June 22: Avalanche at Lightning, 8 p.m. ET (ABC, ESPN+, SN, CBC, TVA Sports)
*Game 5 – June 24: Lightning at Avalanche, 8 p.m. ET (ABC, ESPN+, SN, CBC, TVA Sports)
*Game 6 – June 26: Avalanche at Lightning, 8 p.m. ET (ABC, ESPN+, SN, CBC, TVA Sports)
*Game 7 – June 28: Lightning at Avalanche, 8 p.m. ET (ABC, ESPN+, SN, CBC, TVA Sports)
Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.