2022 Stanley Cup Final: Colorado Avalanche vs. Tampa Bay Lightning preview, preparations
June 14, 2022
For a long time now, the goal of the Colorado Avalanche has been to win the Stanley Cup and to earn its first title since 2001.
The Tampa Bay Lightning, two-time defending Stanley Cup champions, are one win away from capturing the tournament for the third time in four years. They're riding high after beating the Rangers in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference finals.
According to Jared Bednar, the coach of the Avalanche, the team's goal is to be the best it can be. The way he sees it, the Lighting is the team everyone is trying to copy. They've been in the finals three years in a row and won two in a row.
"Real deep team," Bednar said. "Highly committed team on the defensive side of things. Dangerous offensively. Great goaltending. I mean, they're back where they are for a reason, right? So, this is a very difficult team to win against, and we have to be ready for the challenge."
Through the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Avalanche have already established themselves as one of the best teams in the league. They're 12-2 so far.
Seeing the Lighting come through again was a beautiful moment. For the Avalanche, it shows that they can compete against the best team that has dominated the sport for the past couple of years.
Avalanche confident for the Final
Despite the quality of the opposing team, Bowen Byram, a Colorado defender, said that his team is still confident in its ability to compete against them. Despite knowing that they will have to play their best to beat the Lighting, Byram is still excited about the challenge.
According to Bednar, the Avalanche has not faced a team like Tampa Bay during the playoffs. The Lighting has been led by the stellar performance of their goalkeeper, Andrei Vasilevskiy, who has made several impressive saves during the playoffs. Bednar said his team's preparation for the game started when they took a 3-2 lead over the New York Rangers in their series.
The Avalanche will try to play to their identity and focus on the things they can do in the offensive zone to take advantage of the opportunities that the Lightning provide.
The 50-year-old coach also noted that his team must be ready to face the Lighting's multiple threats. Aside from their impressive performance on the ice, Tampa Bay is also an outstanding defensive team.
One of the main advantages that the Lighting have over the Avalanche is their experience in the playoffs. According to Gabriel Landeskog, the team's success this season is due to how well they've been able to win when it matters most.
"The experience they have is invaluable at this time of year, and I think they find ways to step up at this point in the season," Landeskog said. "And when playoffs roll around, they've been able to turn it on. Regular season, there's been times when they've struggled and whatnot, but come this time, everybody just steps up.
"They're a deep team. They're good from the back end all the way up. Obviously, a good goalie and strong on special teams -- all those things. No team makes it to this point without having kind of all those things. So, they've got a lot of things going for them, but so do we, so it'll be a fun series."
The Avalanche will also try to capitalize on the team's recent rest. During the second round, the Tampa Bay Lightning had a relatively short time between its victories over the Florida Panthers and the New York Rangers. This caused noticeable rust in their players. However, unlike in the first round, the Avalanche did not have an issue with their break.
Despite the team's recent laid-back schedule, Landeskog said that the players are still focused on improving their game. They're not using the time off as an excuse. They're going to practice hard and prepare for the upcoming game.