Colorado Avalanche end Lightning dynasty bid, win Stanley Cup
The Colorado Avalanche ended the Tampa Bay Lightning’s quest to win three straight titles with an amazing display of skill and will.
On Sunday night at Amalie Arena in Tampa, the Avs made the plays, paid the price, and raised the Stanley Cup high overhead. The 2-1 final score in Game 6 gave the franchise their third championship, and first since 2001 (their first was in 1996).
Avs head coach Jared Bednar became the first person to win a championship in the NHL, AHL, and ECHL.
“There’s a huge sense of satisfaction. Relief is part of it right away when I heard the buzzer go,” Bednar said via NHL.com. “I’m just so proud. Really, honestly, I’m just so proud and excited for our guys to get rewarded.”
For the Lightning, just getting here was an incredible accomplishment. If this is the end of their run as a top contender, they’ll go down as one of the best teams in the salary cap era.
“We just met our match in this series,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “But I hope people think of this team and write about this team for years to come for what they’ve gone through in the last three years.”
Colorado Avalanche win Stanley Cup
Avalanche 2 vs Lightning 1
Things started well for Tampa with captain Steven Stamkos scoring after a lucky bounce off Ondrej Palat’s skate went right to him just 3:48 into the first period.
Less than two minutes later, Nathan MacKinnon answered with a wicked shot from the left circle that went in off Andrei Vasilevskiy’s blocker to tie it. For MacKinnon it was his 13th goal of the postseason, tying him for the postseason lead with Edmonton’s Evander Kane.
From there the Avalanche were on a mission and put forth an excellent defensive performance allowing only 23 shots against, including just 4 in the third period.
Trade deadline acquisition Artturi Lehkonen picked up the Stanley Cup winning goal in the second period. After hitting the post in the first period, he was the recipient of a fortunate bounce as the puck banked off of Tampa defender Zach Bogosian right to his stick. He went glove high for his 8th goal of these playoffs.
In the end, Darcy Kuemper was solid making 22 saves as his counterpart Vasilevskiy did his best stopping 28.
Deputy commissioner Bill Daly handed out the Stanley Cup for commissioner Gary Bettman, who is dealing with COVID. Captain Gabriel Landeskog accepted the trophy raising it to the heavens as fireworks went off behind him.
“We didn’t try to change things. We stuck with it. We brought in some really, really, really high-character pieces that just wanted to win,” explained a joyous Landeskog. “They just wanted to do whatever they could to win, and they were the difference for us.”
Reigning Norris Trophy winner Cale Makar capped an amazing season by winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the playoffs. This postseason he recorded 29 points in 20 games finishing third all-time for points by a defenseman in a single playoff year. He’s the first player to win the Hobey Baker Award (best college player), Calder, Norris, and Conn Smythe in his career.
“There’s nothing better than this,” Makar said. “You dream of this. It feels so surreal. It feels like a video game right now.”
The Colorado Avalanche, who were favored to win the Stanley Cup from the beginning of the season completed a playoff run for the ages going 16-4.
Congratulations to the Colorado Avalanche on an incredible Stanley Cup win.