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Photo by AP / John Bazemore
The king is dead. Long live the king.
The Colorado Avalanche beat Tampa Bay Lighting 2-1 Sunday night to win the Stanley Cup final in 2022 in six games and end Lynet’s two-year run as NHL champions.
Artturi Lehkonen’s goal with 7:32 left in the second period turned out to be the game’s winner after Tampa Bay opened the scoring in the first period and Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon equalized just 1:54 into the second.
Cale Makar, who won the Norris Trophy earlier this week as the league’s best defender, was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the playoffs.
He is the first player in league history to win the Hobey Baker Award as the nation’s best college player and the Calder Trophy as the rookie of the year in the NHL, as well as Norris, Conn Smythe and the Stanley Cup.
The B / R hockey team took a look at match 6 and put together a list of takeaways. Browse to see what we came up with, and drop a thought or two of your own in the comments section.
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Of the young stars in the league, MacKinnon ranks among the best up there.
But even if you’re among the groups that claim Connor McDavid or Auston Matthews are superior to the Colorado Avalanche striker, he officially has something they do not have.
After five league games in which he had only scored once on 28 shots, the 2013 No. 1 combined muscle tensed his championship-ready muscles in the clincher by scoring the equalizing goal early in the second and assisting in the Cup clincher half. a period later.
He finished the playoffs with 13 goals, giving Edmonton’s Evander Kane the league lead, and 24 points, which was third on the team behind Conn Smythe winner Makar and linemate Mikko Rantanen.
Now as a 26-year-old, MacKinnon has been a points-per-game player in the regular season for five years in a row and has now produced at that speed in all six playoff appearances with Colorado, recording 93 points in 70 games.
For comparison, Matthews has 33 points in 39 playoff games in his career with the Toronto Maple Leafs, while McDavid has 55 points in 37 games with Edmonton.
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Photo by AP / David Zalubowski
Joe Sakic was a Stanley Cup-winning player in Colorado.
But the moves he made to put together Avalanche’s last championship team as general manager deserve a similar amount of praise these days.
Among the players who lifted the cup on Sunday night, several came within the trading deadline that Sakic did to support homemade core players such as MacKinnon and Makar.
Artturi Lehkonen was drafted by Montreal and had spent part of six seasons with the Canadiens, including an appearance in the 2020-21 final against Lightning, before Sakic took him over on March 21 in a deal for minor league Justin Barron and a second-round pick in 2024
Veterans Josh Manson and Andrew Cogliano, who had combined for more than 1,500 NHL games, were brought over the same week from Anaheim and San Jose, respectively, for a collective draw that included one player and two draft picks.
Several weeks before the 2021-22 season, Sakic goalkeeper Darcy Kuemper bought from Arizona for two picks and a player, and a year earlier he snatched New York Islanders defender Devon Toews for two picks and immediately signed him for a four. -year, $ 16.4 million deal.
All played important roles, with the skaters coming together for 19 goals and 24 assists in the playoffs in 20 games and Kuemper went 10-4 on 16 starts with 2.57 goals against the average and a save percentage of 0.902.
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AP Photo / Phelan Ebenhack
No Avalanche player was more in doubt than Kuemper.
He won the first two games with little sustained pressure on him, but was pulled from game 3 after giving up five goals and surrendering softly enough to make people believe that the needle had moved to Tampa Bay’s side eventually. as the series progressed.
Then game 6 happened.
And while Kuemper hardly needed to be Vezina Trophy quality to stop 22 of 23 shots, he held up well after allowing the game’s first goal less than four minutes in.
He was called only nine times in the second and then only four times in the third, but he stoned Nikita Kucherov up close in the waning moments and never seemed uncomfortable or out of place when lightning tried in vain to press the action.
In six games, he stopped 138 of 152 shots (0.908 save percentage) and had 2.45 goals against the average. And in games 4-6, despite the occasional mistake, those numbers improved to .934 and 1.89, respectively, compared to Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy, who posted .933 and 2.21 in the same stretch.
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Photo by AP / David Zalubowski
No team wins a cup without injuries.
And while much time was spent discussing the absence of Tampa Bay’s Brayden Point and others, the Avalanche wardrobe was quite reminiscent of a MASH device as well.
Defender Samuel Girard lost the balance in the playoffs after breaking his sternum after a hit during the second round against St. Louis Blues, while striker Andre Burakovsky missed the last four games of the match against Lightning after being hit in the head with a shot in game 2.
He had scored the overtime goal that ended match 1.
Striker Nazem Kadri was injured in the Western Conference title series against Edmonton and did not play until Game 4 in Tampa Bay, where he scored the OT winner, and striker Valeri Nichushkin only skated briefly in T-shirt and shorts on Sunday morning after unwinding. with the right leg in an ice pack after game 5 on Friday.
Still, Kadri and Nichushkin played together to play more than 40 minutes in Game 6, including time on both power play and while being short-handed, and Avalanche got just enough out of deep players like Darren Helm (9:56 ice time), JT Compher ( 8:56), and Cogliano (9:34) to about the series-clinching storm.