The Wraparound: Avalanche get second chance to take Stanley Cup from Lightning

The Wraparound is your look at the 2022 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. We’ll break down Game 6 of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final, including the all-important television information.

• We are here at Game 6 because of the clutch play of Ondrej Palat and Andrei Vasilevskiy Friday night.

• André Burakovsky is a “possibility” for Game 6, says Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar, after the forward missed the last three games with a hand injury. Brayden Point is also a game-time decision for the Lightning.

The Colorado Avalanche will get a second chance at glory on Sunday night. Game 6 of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final will take place at AMALIE Arena in Tampa Bay, and it is the potential setting for a memorable night for the franchise.

Maybe the Avalanche players felt the nerves in Game 5 up 3-1 in the series in their first attempt to close out the Lightning. It was a very good performance by Tampa Bay to give themselves another shot. And now the pressure remains on Colorado, who face the prospect of a winner-take-all Game 7 on Tuesday should they fail again to claim the Cup.

The Avalanche know the old sports cliché about the fourth win in a series being the hardest one to achieve. They understand the stakes and realize they let an opportunity slip through their grasps — something that could serve as a wakeup call heading into Sunday night.

[NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2022 schedule, TV info]

“That’s what you’re trying to do,” said Colorado head coach Jared Bednar. “We’ve had a heck of a season to this point, job’s not done, so there’s a tremendous amount of focus and determination still left in myself and our team. You are here, it’s supposed to be fun. it’s easier for some guys to enjoy it more than others. I mean, I know how much our guys want it now, they’ve worked for it.

“So, there’s a certain amount of stress and anxiety that you have to try to put out of your head, so you can bring your best performance. Like I said, everyone [handles] it differently, but our guys have been doing a nice job with it thus far and I expect it to continue.”

Winning that fourth game won’t be easy. The two-time defending champions are not backing down and Andrei Vasilevskiy has only gotten stronger after a rough start to the series. As Adam Gretz noted on Saturday, the Lightning netminder has a .940 save percentage in 25 career elimination games (either up or down in a series). He’s helped carry his team back from series deficits already this postseason and he is Tampa Bay’s biggest factor in their quest to come all the way back from a 3-1 series deficit.

The Avalanche are aware just how dangerous this Lightning team is and allowing a team like that to get back up off the mat does not usually end well. Tampa Bay has the experience in this type of situation, which gives them plenty of confidence even as they are a loss away from seeing their three-peat dreams come to an end.

[MORE: This is Andrei Vasilevskiy’s time to shine]

“I do have to marvel at what’s gone on and how many times you can be kicked and get back off the mat,” said Lightning head coach Jon Cooper. “It’s not always the game situations. It’s the injuries and the blocked shots and the gamesmanship and all those things that kind of just needle you to go away. Just like little gnats, like ‘OK, go. It’s OK. It’s OK if you back down now. You’ve won. You’ve done it.’ And that’s why I think teams don’t keep repeating, because it’s easy to walk away.

“These guys won’t do it, and it’s something to marvel.”

COLORADO AVALANCHE v. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (COL leads 3-2)

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 – 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)

* if necessary

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

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