Denver – It was clinical.
One-sided as a blowout could possibly be.
One team won nearly every race and every fight, while the other seemed a step slow and often disjointed, struggling not only to achieve structure but also to make the simple plays that are usually routine.
Right now, the Colorado Avalanche looks like a well-oiled machine and this 7-0 loss to the two-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning at the Ball Arena on Saturday night is probably a timeless classic for head coach Jared Bedner in real time. Felt like
It is not every day that a team can beat the best goalkeeper in the world seven times.
Converted touchdowns aren’t common: Not on sleepless nights during the dog days of February, let alone Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
The avalanche quickly reached the warp and it was an absolutely relentless attack, with no sign of slowing down any time soon.
For the second time in as many games, Avalanche was fired from a cannon to start the game, and his frantic pace continued to force the Lightning to make uncharacteristic mistakes with puck management.
This time, the avalanche stopped Lightning from pushing the score back and into the evening.
Was this an example of the coaching staff putting together a plan to counter what the Lightning did in Game 1?
“I don’t know about the exact plan, but it certainly was as close to perfect a game as you can get from your players,” said Bednar, to muttering credits. “Coming out of Game 1, we were dangerous on the offensive, but I thought there was one more move for our group. So we evaluated it, we showed them a few things and they did a good job and on the defensive side of it we (Saturday) Ko) were better. We were much better. It wasn’t even close.”
Not even close is a good way to describe it.
As a result, the Avalanche suddenly finds itself just two wins away from capturing the club’s first Stanley Cup since 2001.
But if you thought the Avalanche would be planning to put things on cruise control or start planning a parade route, you’re not following this playoff joyride.
Avalanche defender Josh Manson was quick to dismiss a suggestion that his team had power over the ropes or that they might be upset with what has happened so far.
“You know what, it’s a championship caliber team and I don’t think they get disappointed,” Manson said. “I think they’re patient. And they’ll adjust and they’ll let things go. I think that’s what makes them so successful. So for us, we can’t think we’re under their skin, we Can’t think of anything like that. We just have to keep going. And just have that mindset which doesn’t stop.
“It sounds good but the job isn’t done, as they say.”
The work isn’t done by any stretch of the imagination, but the Lightning will have to find an entirely different level of play if they’re going to regroup like they did in the Eastern Conference Finals, when they pulled off a 0-2 series. Had crossed the deficit to win four games in a row.
The harsh reality for the Lightning is that they have to win four of the next five games to not be dethroned.
“We have that humble mindset and that trust in our room. I think trust is such a big thing,” Manson said. “We know we have confidence in ourselves if we go out and play the way we need to. We have confidence in our game.”
For all talk about the Lightning having a decisive lead between the pipes, Avalanche goalkeeper Darcy Kumper is doing his part, making 17 saves to record a shutout on Saturday — his first of 12 during the playoffs.
Kumper saw a steady diet of Cory Perry around the blue – and the pair got minors by chance at one point – but the goalkeeper didn’t allow Lightning to get under his skin or kick him out of his game.
“He just likes to go to the net. That’s how he plays. He’s always played that way,” Kumper said. “I just try to get out of there as much as I can.
“It was probably one of our best games in all of the playoffs. We made some nice adjustments from the last game and really wanted to play the way we wanted to. The guys were incredible.”
that’s an understatement.
The overall score in the series is now 10-3 and while this juggling offense is clicking right now, the more impressive developments in this series surround the way Avalanche defends – and limits the potential for – the high-threat to Lightning.
“I think we played to a ‘T’ for our identity – obviously, we had some good goals and stuff. It was a little weird,” said Avalanche defenseman Kale Makar, who scored twice and scored “Obviously we are getting opportunities but people were able to take advantage of it, so it is a good thing.
“We know as a team that when we play our best game on the defensive we are rewarded offensively. So for us, it’s just coming to that kind of feeling every night. As I said in the previous question, they are clearly a great team. Their players are going to find ways to take advantage of you and we have to be prepared. They’re going to throw their everything at us in the next game, so we just have to be prepared, and also ready to bring it back at them. ,
One of the only downsides for the Avalanche was the early departure of forward Andrei Burakovsky, who contributed one goal and assist in only 10 innings and 7:51 snow time before an undisclosed injury.
Andrew Cogliano, on the other hand, returned to the lineup after sitting out Game 1 with a broken finger and he quickly assisted in a pair, playing two minutes and 36 seconds when shorthanded.
The veteran winger was also quick to dodge the question of whether the speed at which the avalanche is playing led to a lightning strike – something that has played a huge role in the result so far.
“I don’t know, I don’t know. I think we’re really focused on ourselves right now,” said Cogliano. “We’re just focusing on our game and when we play like tonight So everyone is proud of themselves and it’s a great feeling. You can’t get caught up with what’s happening outside, what the other teams are doing.”
That approach is serving the avalanche well and you can be sure they are going to do everything in their collective power to not stray from it.
It’s that time of year when many stats can be thrown out the window, but the Avalanche is a perfect 7-0 down the road in the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs going into Monday’s game at Amalie Arena.
“They are the current Stanley Cup champions. They won twice, they know how to play, they know how to play at home,” said Cogliano. “It’s going to be the biggest test for us.”
Good thing for Avalanche, they’ve made it a habit to pass the test with flying colors—with Saturday night serving as the most recent example.