cloudyn.png
Tuesday August 16th, 2022 10:11PM

Avalanche rout Lightning 7-0 to take 2-0 lead in Cup Final

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

DENVER (AP) — Cale Makar barely broke a smile after scoring his second goal and Colorado's seventh of the night. He fist-bumped Mikko Rantanen to thank him for the pass and skated to the bench.

He and the Avalanche are calm, confident and rolling. They're now two wins from dethroning the two-time defending champions.

Looking like by far the better team, the Avalanche overwhelmed the Tampa Bay Lightning 7-0 in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday night to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Coach Jared Bednar called it “as close to perfect of a game as you can get from your players.”

“I feel like we played to our identity to a ‘T’ tonight,” Makar said. “We had some good goals and stuff like that. ... It was a little bit of a weird one tonight. Obviously, we’re getting opportunities but guys were able to able to capitalize, so that’s good part.”

Valeri Nichushkin scored his seventh and eighth goals of the playoffs and continued to be the best player on the ice in the final, Game 1 overtime hero Andre Burakovsky beat Andrei Vasilevskiy again and even defensive defenseman Josh Manson and 35-year-old grinder Darren Helm got in on the fun with a goal apiece. Makar, who didn't even have a shot on goal in Game 1, scored twice in the third period, inciting chants of "We want the Cup!” from a fired up crowd.

“They’re playing at an elite level right now — give them credit. We are not," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “They’re two good teams. They're just playing a much higher level right now than we are.”

Rarely have the Lightning been completely outclassed during this run of postseason success, but they also hadn't faced an opponent like the Avalanche, who forced them into one uncharacteristic mistake after another. Colorado was dominant in every facet of the game to move two victories away from its first title since 2001 and the first by this core led by Nathan MacKinnon.

The Avalanche go to Tampa for Game 3 on Monday night up in the series despite no goals in the series from MacKinnon, who at times has played like a man possessed in an effort to finally break though and hoist the Cup. They still became just the third team in NHL history to score three-plus goals in the first period of Games 1 and 2 in the final.

"We played a pretty good game," Helm said. “We just played a full 60-minute game.”

The dominant performance started by pouncing on an early mistake by typically reliable Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak when he bobbled the puck at the blue line on one of the game's first shifts. It was all Avalanche after that.

Their aggressive forecheck led them to draw a penalty on veteran Ryan McDonagh, score on the ensuing power play when Burakovsky fed Nichushkin for his first of the night. It wasn't his last, and Colorado poured it on with six of the game's first seven shots and complete territorial domination with much of the game played in the Tampa Bay end.

With Vasilevskiy — whose play was the key to the Lightning's incredible ability to bounce back after a loss in the playoffs — looking shaky and even dropping his head after letting Makar beat him clean on one of many 2-on-1 rushes, the Avalanche made the most of all their offensive zone time. The highest-scoring team this postseason put on a clinic against the team that has played more hockey than anyone else over the past two years.

That may finally be taking its toll, and it's exacerbated by the blazing speed with which the Avalanche play. They again not only outskated the Lightning but used quick feet to force errors that turned into goals.

“We came out with a purpose,” said forward Andew Cogliano, who returned after missing Game 1 with a right finger injury. “We got to our game, we skated from the drop of the puck and we just didn’t let up.”

Tampa Bay fell to 18-2 after a loss since the start of the first round in 2020. The streak of 18 in a row ended in the Eastern Conference final against the New York Rangers when the Lightning fell behind 2-0 before roaring back, though it's hard to see Colorado falling into the same trap.

The way the Lightning lost this one — by far their biggest blowout loss during this run — came as a surprise to just about everyone.

“Am I shocked that we lost 7-zip?” Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said. “I mean, I don’t think we saw that coming.”

Even if players brush off the concept of momentum from game to game during a playoff series, their romp over the champs combined with a 7-0 road record should fill the Avalanche with confidence. But they might again need to dip into their pool of depth because of injuries.

After getting Andrew Cogliano back from missing the season opener with a right finger injury, the Avalanche lost Burakovsky again in the second period. Burakovsky blocked a shot in the first game in the West final and has been playing through pain since. Bednar said he would be re-evaluated ahead of Game 2.

Colorado is inflicting plenty of pain on Tampa Bay, which resorted to some rough stuff after falling behind. Of course, even MacKinnon was throwing hits in the third period despite the game being well in hand.

Darcy Kuemper was barely tested in net for Colorado, picking up the shutout with 17 saves.

“He was just rock solid,” Manson said. “He was exactly what we needed to be.”

___

Follow AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno

___

More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Hockey, AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Avalanche rout Lightning 7-0 to take 2-0 lead in Cup Final
The Colorado Avalanche overwhelmed the Tampa Bay Lightning 7-0 in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series
10:57PM ( 10 minutes ago )
Building collapse after fire kills 1 firefighter; 5 injured
Authorities say a building caught fire and later collapsed in north Philadelphia, killing one firefighter and injuring five other people after all became trapped
10:51PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Zalatoris, Fitzpatrick survive beast of Open to share lead
Will Zalatoris and Matt Fitzpatrick share the lead in a U.S. Open that was more about survival
9:38PM ( 1 hour ago )
U.S. News
DeLucia keeps Mississippi rolling in 5-1 CWS win over Auburn
Dylan DeLucia allowed one run and struck out 10 in 7 2/3 innings and Mississippi continued its postseason roll with a 5-1 win over Auburn in its College World Series opener
10:03PM ( 1 hour ago )
Arkansas routs 2nd-seeded Stanford 17-2 in CWS opener
Connor Noland allowed one run over 7 2/3 efficient innings, Chris Lanzilli hit a tiebreaking three-run homer and Arkansas beat No. 2 national seed Stanford 17-2 in the most-lopsided College World Series game in 34 years
9:48PM ( 1 hour ago )
Kee-gan! Bradley feels the love, makes a run at the US Open
Growing up in Vermont, Keegan Bradley dreamed he might find out what it felt like to be Larry Bird or Carlton Fisk or Tom Brady, or any of those Boston sports greats whose posters plaster bedroom walls across New England
9:40PM ( 1 hour ago )
Associated Press (AP)
US Open: For Justin Thomas, honestly is a costly policy
Justin Thomas wanted to honor the spirit of the game
7:20PM ( 3 hours ago )
Koufax gets Dodger Stadium statue next to Jackie Robinson
When Sandy Koufax joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1955, he was in awe of being on the same team with Jackie Robinson
6:13PM ( 4 hours ago )
US Open updates: Zalatoris shoots 67 for clubhouse lead
Will Zalatoris got up-and-down from a greenside bunker on No. 18 to save par and finish his third round with the lead in the U.S. Open on Saturday
6:12PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Sports
Stanley Cup Final shows value of hitting on top draft picks
The Stanley Cup Final between the Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning shows the value of hitting on top picks in the NHL draft
3:17PM ( 7 hours ago )
Former Tennessee governor buying majority share of Predators
The chairman of the Nashville Predators has agreed to sell the majority of his stake in the NHL team to former Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam
4:51PM ( 1 day ago )
Avs franchise fortunes aren't MacKinnon's to shoulder alone
Colorado Avalanche superstar Nathan MacKinnon has upped his game by dialing it down
4:21PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Hockey
Building collapse after fire kills 1 firefighter; 5 injured
Authorities say a building caught fire and later collapsed in north Philadelphia, killing one firefighter and injuring five other people after all became trapped
10:51PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Zalatoris, Fitzpatrick survive beast of Open to share lead
Will Zalatoris and Matt Fitzpatrick share the lead in a U.S. Open that was more about survival
9:38PM ( 1 hour ago )
Political commentator and columnist Mark Shields dies at 85
Political commentator and columnist Mark Shields, who shared his insight into American politics and wit on “PBS NewsHour” for decades, has died
6:13PM ( 4 hours ago )
US opens COVID vaccine to little kids, shots begin next week
U.S. health officials have opened COVID-19 vaccines for infants, toddlers and preschoolers — the last group without the shots
4:28PM ( 6 hours ago )
CDC recommends COVID-19 vaccines for children under 5
U.S. health officials are recommending COVID-19 vaccines for infants, toddlers and preschoolers — the last group without the shots
3:21PM ( 7 hours ago )