NHL: Colorado ends Tampa Bay’s reign and offers itself a 3rd Stanley Cup

Colorado lifted the Stanley Cup for the third time in its history after winning the NHL Finals on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Lightning (2-1), two-time defending champion. Colorado, already crowned in 1996 and 2001, dominated the series 4-2 and above all ended the reign of Tampa Bay, which had been flying over the NHL since the 2019-20 season thanks in particular to its two Russians, the prolific striker Nikita Hucherov and goalkeeper Andri Vasilevskiy.

While they had only one game to win to celebrate their victory, the Avalanche players had toasted a cartridge by bowing Friday in front of their audience (3-2). But they knew how to react perfectly in Tampa Bay to avoid a final meeting under tension in Denver. The outcome of this final, played in the best of seven sets, owes a lot to Nathan MacKinnon, author of a goal and an assist.

« It’s incredibledropped the hero of the evening. It is difficult to explain. Words can’t describe what I’m feeling right nowIt was his Canadian teammate Cale Makar, on the other hand, who was named best player in the play-offs, having scored 8 goals and provided 21 assists in 19 matches.


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« It’s so great to be part of this group and to be rewarded, said the 23-year-old defender. I’m so proud of the boys. I grew up with Stanley Cup images on my bedroom walls. It’s surreal and amazing. » « The last three years have been amazingacknowledged Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos. For many other teams it would be an incredible season, but for us it’s a disappointing end« .

In this 2022 final, Colorado, who alternately felled Nashville (4-0), St. Louis (4-2) and Edmonton (4-0), always raced in the lead by winning the first two meetings at home. , including the second where the Avalanche buried the Lightning 7-0. Tampa Bay had regained hope by offering their 3rd duel in Florida 6-2, but Colorado repeated the break to lead 3-1 before miss a first chance to close the series definitively on Friday.

Colorado, carried by MacKinnon (32 goals in the regular season), had finished with the second best record in the first phase of the 2021-22 Championship. Before this season, the Avalanche hadn’t made it past the conference semifinals since 2002. Just five seasons ago, the Denver franchise was the laughingstock of the NHL after finishing the 2016-17 regular season with a calamitous record of 22 wins and 60 losses, one of the worst in history.


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