Colorado Avalanche defeat Tampa Bay Lightning 7-0 in Game 2
June 19, 2022
While it might be hard to accept, the two-time Stanley Cup champions Tampa Bay Lightning had to face their loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night. The Lightning were unable to tie the series as they were thumped 7-0.
At first, Lightning head coach, Jon Cooper, thought that his team would be able to deliver a better performance after the loss in Game 1. Unfortunately, the Avs’ Valeri Nichushkin took an opportunity and made a pass to Andre Burakovsky to break the Tampa defenders when the Lightning’s defenseman Ryan McDonagh committed a rough penalty.
Cooper said that it was all downhill from that point. The Avalanche then dominated the game and opened up a 23-12 shot advantage through two periods. Right wing Valeri Nichushkin also added another goal and an assist, along with Burakovsky, who also scored a goal.
Moreover, during the third period, star defenseman Cale Makar also added a shorthanded goal and a power-play goal. The Avs’ excellent play showed their capability to contain the Lightning, even with the presence of Tampa Bay’s goaltender, Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Jared Bednar, the Avalanche coach, admitted that the team performed exceptionally well. "I thought our guys played hard right from the drop of the puck," said. "Highly committed on the defensive side of things, dangerous offensively, tenacious on pucks, relentless puck pursuit and that was throughout our entire lineup."
Tampa Bay’s response to their loss
Although the Lightning failed to win the game, the team agreed that the loss should not be pinned on Vasilevskiy. Coach Cooper acknowledged that Vasilevskiy was "the best goalie in the world". That was also the reason why the goaltender was not replaced, even though the score gaps kept growing.
The Lightning’s captain, Steven Stamkos, also said the same thing about Vasilevskiy. "He’s been our backbone for years and years and years and we owe it to him to have a better game next game," Stamkos said. "And, I mean, it could have been worse. He made some unbelievable saves. So by no means is this on him tonight. We got to be better as a group."
Regarding the loss, Cooper admitted that his team was not playing at the same level as their opponent. "They [the Avalanche] are playing at an elite level right now. Give them credit," Cooper said. "We are not."
How Avalanche maintain performance
During Game 2, the Avs were playing without second-line center Nazem Kadri due to an injury. However, the team didn’t let that swing their performance. Thanks to forward J.T. Compher, the Avs were able to keep up a solid play.
Compher finished the playoffs tied for sixth on the Avalanche in goals, ninth in points, and seventh in forward ice time.
Moreover, the Avs also welcomed Andrew Cogliano, who just got back from surgery recovery. Cogliano broke his right hand during Game 4 against the Edmonton Oilers in the Western Conference finals.
The 35-year-old forward is a valuable player for his killer speed and forechecking abilities. He also has a team-high 111 games of NHL playoff experience.
The Avalanche are now leading the series 2-0. The team will need to deliver an equal or even better performance in Game 3 on Monday as the Lighting was not an easy opponent either.