Avalanche win Stanley Cup, end Lightning repeat bid in Game 6

For the first time since 2001, the Colorado Avalanche are Stanley Cup champions. The Lightning did not let their three-peat bid slip away easily, but the Avalanche ultimately won the Stanley Cup in Game 6.

After the Lightning built a 1-0 lead through 20, the Avalanche scored two second-period goals. That ended up being all that the Avalanche needed to win Game 6, finishing it at 2-1.

For all of the talk of frustration for the likes of Nathan MacKinnon, the Avs star drove this Stanley Cup-clinching win. With an incredible 29 points in just 20 playoff games, Cale Makar won the 2022 Conn Smythe.

Early lead for Lightning in Game 6

Overall, Makar had an incredible run. Yet, Cale Makar slogged through a tough start to Game 6 of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final.

Less than one minute in, Makar took an interference penalty on what could have been an icing. A middling Lightning power play couldn’t connect. That said, Andrew Cogliano was shaken up blocking a shot. It also might have thrown off the rhythm when Colorado started fast.

Between Makar and Nathan MacKinnon, some lost puck battles really burned the Avalanche early in Game 6. Nikita Kucherov created a turnover, and Steven Stamkos beat Darcy Kuemper for the 1-0 tally.

(So much for Steven Stamkos struggling to score in the playoffs unless those goals came on the power play.)

Andrei Vasilevskiy has very much been … Andrei Vasilevskiy. Maybe he got help from a post or two, but it felt like the Avalanche could’ve entered the first period up 3-1 ahead of the Lightning. Instead, Artturi Lehkonen, Nathan MacKinnon, and Nazem Kadri were robbed on quick, point-blank opportunities.

Avalanche build 2-1 lead through second period of Game 6

Eventually, even Andrei Vasilevskiy gets beaten. Nathan MacKinnon scored his second goal of the series early in the second period on a delayed penalty.

It was a true blink-and-you’ll-miss-it one-timer. One will note that it also beat Vasilevskiy short/blocker side.

During the first period, Cale Makar was the only player to take a penalty. That’s worth noting because, of course, there were any number of moments where penalties could’ve been called. For better or mostly worse, the whistles go away as the games get bigger.

That’s worth mentioning because the Lightning weren’t happy with the turn of events that took place before Artturi Lehkonen finally broke through with a goal (the 2-1 tally):

Was there an infraction that inhibited Pierre-Edouard Bellemare at some point? Could both teams have been penalized?

So … only so much mileage for Tampa Bay here. That’s because it truly took a lot to get any calls. If there was grumbling, it could have come from each team.

Eventually, a bad boarding hit by Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh resulted in the first Avalanche power play of Game 6.

Through 40, neither team scored a power-play goal, with one opportunity apiece. The Avalanche ended the second period up 2-1 against the Lightning in Game 6.

Avalanche play great defense by dominating the puck on offense to complete Stanley Cup win

During the playoffs, the Avalanche are 9-1 when leading after two periods, and 3-0 after a postseason loss.

The Lightning were tasked with defying those impressive Avalanche stats. For much of the third period, the Lightning barely could muster any offense against the Avalanche, or get the puck from the Avs.

Sportsnet noted that the Lightning went more than 14 minutes without registering a shot on goal. Through the first half of the final frame, a harmless center-ice shot from Ryan McDonagh was the Lightning’s lone SOG.

To be fair, there were some chances in the third, and a memorable one was a near-miss for the Lightning. Corey Perry set up Nikita Kucherov with a dangerous-looking opportunity, but Kucherov couldn’t connect.

Later, Kucherov did get a chance on net. To Darcy Kuemper’s credit, he got across to make a nice save.

In case you were wondering … there were at least some late grumblings about icing, men on the ice, and so on. But the Lightning couldn’t quite get much going, and the Avalanche won it all.

COLORADO AVALANCHE v. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (COL wins 4-2)

Game 1 – Avalanche 4, Lightning 3 (OT)
Game 2 – Avalanche 7, Lightning 0
Game 3 – Lightning 6, Avalanche 2
Game 4 – Avalanche 3, Lightning 2 (OT)
Game 5 – Lightning 3, Avalanche 2
Game 6 – Avalanche 2, Lightning 1

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