Avalanche vs. Lightning score Stanley Cup final match 6: Colorado wins 2-1 for the team’s third championship

The Colorado Avalanche are Stanley Cup champions. The Avalanche entered an inflamed Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida, for Game 6 and went back with a 2-1 victory – and a very large hardware.

Colorado ended the Tampa Bay’s back-to-back Stanley Cups run and took its third championship in franchise history.

Lightning jumped to an early 1-0 lead, thanks to a goal from captain Steven Stamkos. However, Avalanche took over the game from there. Colorado dominated the second period and was rewarded with goals from Nathan MacKinnon and Artturi Lehkonen. Avs took a 2-1 lead into the locker room and knocked down Lightning from there.

Colorado completely crushed Tampa Bay in the third period. The lightning did not get a shot on Darcy Kuemper until there were about 10 minutes left of the regulation. Not happy with sitting back and waiting for the clock to tick down, Avs remained aggressive for the last 20 minutes, and that made life incredibly difficult for Lightning. Even in the situation with empty nets, Tampa Bay failed to get quality shots on Darcy Kuemper.

After finishing at the bottom of the NHL table just five years ago, the Avalanche lifted the Stanley Cup for the first time since 2001, and they did so against one of the biggest teams in the payroll era.

Avalanche Complete the reconstruction

In the 2016-17 season, Avalanche went 22-56-4, the worst mark in the NHL. Just five years later, the Stanley Cup team skated around Amalie Arena after beating Tampa Bay Lightning.

General manager Joe Sakic had a plan for this Avalanche team, and he carried it out to perfection. Ever since the terrible year of 2016-17, Colorado has only risen, and it began with the draft that summer. Avs actually slipped to No. 4 overall in the draft lottery, but it worked because the team drafted Cale Makar, who just won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the postseason. That jump started Colorado’s rebuilding, and the franchise did not look back from there. This Stanley Cup has been several years in the making for Avalanche, and they are probably not even close to finishing.

Nathan MacKinnon makes it happen

The first five games of this Stanley Cup final must have been frustrating for MacKinnon. When he entered game 6, he had only one goal on 28 shots, but he kept hitting away and was the biggest difference creator for Avalanche in his league-winning victory.

MacKinnon has been the heart and soul of Avalanche throughout their rebuilding, and he developed into a top-five player in the league. Despite poor luck in this Stanley Cup final, MacKinnon kept his balance and refused to be frustrated. In match 6, MacKinnon scored the equalizer of the match and assisted on the match-winning goal by Lehkonen. Given how much MacKinnon has meant to Avalanche, it was only fitting that he was the one delivering in this game.

End of an impressive race in Tampa

The Tampa Bay Lightning dropped just two wins from winning three straight Stanley Cups, which has only been done five times in NHL history. Although this loss will sting, Lightning still managed one of the most impressive races in the payroll era.

The Lightning won 11 straight playoff series, which is a monumental feat when you consider the constraints that the wage cap, free agency, draft expansion and pandemic have imposed on teams in recent years. Everyone from general manager Julien BriseBois to head coach Jon Cooper to the players deserves all the praise in the world for delivering so consistently over the course of three years. I doubt Tampa Bay will be anywhere soon, and it would probably be a mistake to believe otherwise. The team is still full of talent, but we can still appreciate the greatness it has shown in each of the last three post seasons.