Stanley Cup Rundown: Bolts’ Brayden Point in, Avs won’t name starter

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Feb 17, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar (8) controls the puck ahead of Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point (21) in the second period at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche are just hours away from facing off in the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday night in Denver.

For the Bolts they are trying to win their third straight Cup, which hasn’t been done since the NY Islanders won four straight from 1980-83. Meanwhile the Avs are in the finals for the first time in 21 years, when they beat the NJ Devils in 7.

Similar to Tampa’s last series, their is a lot talk about experience, or their opponents last thereof. Only two players on Colorado have won Cups (Andre Burakovsky and Darren Helm).

“They’re just a team that knows how to win at this point,” Avs defender Devon Toews said. “They’ve done it the last two years, and they’re on the verge of doing it again.”

One member of the Avs that knows about winning championships is the architect that put this team together, general manager Joe Sakic. However, he can’t suit up and will have to rely on his star studded lineup to get the job done.

Nathan MacKinnon squaring off against Steven Stamkos will be a marquee matchup. As will Cale Makar against Victor Hedman. There’s plenty of weapons on both sides but the Bolts will be getting another one back in the nick of time.

Brayden Point is a go for Game 1

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brayden Point appears poised to make his return to the lineup in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday in Denver.

“Pointer looks like he’s a go,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said Wednesday after the team’s morning skate.

Point has missed 10 games since sustaining a lower-body injury in Game 7 of the team’s first-round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs. He has practiced with fellow forwards Nicholas Paul and Ross Colton over the past two days.

Point, 26, recorded 58 points (28 goals, 30 assists) in 66 games during the regular season. In seven playoff games, he had two goals and two assists.

No player has scored more goals (30) over the past three NHL postseasons than Point, who last played May 14.

Avalanche won’t name a starter

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Oct 23, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point (21) shoot as Colorado Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper (35) defends during the first period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado Avalanche coach Jared Bednar declined to name his starting goaltender ahead of Wednesday’s Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final against the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning.

Darcy Kuemper, however, was in the starter’s net during the morning skate Wednesday in Denver. Pavel Francouz relieved an injured Kuemper (upper body) to help the Avalanche sweep the Edmonton Oilers in the Western Conference finals.

“Our guys are comfortable with our goaltending here as well,” Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic said Tuesday. “Both goalies can play. Darcy is 100 percent healthy now. He had a tough time with health for the one round, but he’s ready to go.

“We’re definitely confident in both goalies. They both won six games in the playoffs. Our guys are excited.”

Kuemper, 35, is 6-2 with a 2.65 goals-against average and an .897 save percentage in 10 games in the playoffs.

Francouz, 32, is 6-0 with a 2.86 GAA and .906 save percentage.

Bednar labeled Nazem Kadri (thumb) and Andrew Cogliano (upper body) as “day-to-day” despite missing Wednesday’s morning skate. The coach declined to say if either forward would play in the series opener.

–Field Level Media contributed to this article.