The quest for a third straight Stanley Cup is on the ropes a bit for the Tampa Bay Lightning, who are in an 0-2 hole after dropping both games at Ball Arena. At the same time, this is the exact position the Lightning were in during the Eastern Conference Finals, only to roar back for four straight victories.
Regardless of how Tampa Bay turned things around the last series, the Colorado Avalanche have to like the spot they are in after taking home a 4-3 and a 7-0 win to protect home-ice advantage through the first two games. Oddsmakers have Game Three as a -110 toss-up. We should be in for an exciting match!
Avs Showing Depth
Tampa Bay had a really good chance to steal Game One, with Colorado playing for the first time after an eight-day layoff and turning back to Darcy Kuemper in net after he was hurt in Game One against the Oilers. Instead, the Avalanche persevered for a 4-3 OT victory and then dominated in Game Two for a 7-0 victory.
Kuemper looked comfortable in net on Saturday, but at the same time, he also only had to face 16 shots to get the shutout. That comes after stopping 20 of just 23 shots in Game One, so the Lightning have really lacked aggression on offense – or the Colorado defense is just playing that good.
What’s scary about Colorado is that they found the back of the net seven times in Game Two, even with none of those coming from the top line of Nathan Mackinnon, Mikko Rantanen, and Gabriel Landeskog. Cale Makar and Valeri Nichuskin both had two goals as Colorado continues to show its incredible depth.
Tampa Bay Knows the Situation
The Lightning are 7-1 at home during the playoffs, which is great except for the fact that the Avs have gone 7-0 in road games. Either way, Tampa Bay losing 6-2 and 3-2 to the Rangers to go into an 0-2 hole last series before coming back has to give them a little calm heading into Game Three.
The big question facing Tampa Bay on Monday night is if Andrei Vasilevskiy can have a bounce-back game. While his counterpart was tallying a 16-save shutout in Game Two, Vasilevskiy gave up three goals in the first period for the second straight game while managing to stop just 23 of 30 shots.
Avalanche vs Lightning Pick and Prediction
Is the 2022 Stanley Cup Finals going to be an example of Tampa Bay passing the torch to Colorado as the next NHL destiny, or are we going to get a long, drawn-out series where these two elite teams just hand out beatings on their own ice?
It’s hard to overlook just how dominant the Avalanche were in Game Two, and there might ironically be less pressure heading on the road after defending home ice. The Avalanche are showing great depth right now, and that travels.
Pick: Avalanche -110