Avalanche’s Stanley Cup Final Takeaways

The Colorado Avalanche claimed its third Stanley Cup Final in franchise history after dethroning the two-time defending champions in the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games. The methodical and valiant effort from the Avalanche reflected that of an ultra-determined group, who utilized and executed their game plan, belief in each other and trust in the process all en route to becoming champions and victoriously hoisting Lord Stanley.

Here are a few takeaways from the Avalanche’s Stanley Cup Final:


FULL-TEAM EFFORT

The Avalanche executed a full-team effort in the Stanley Cup Final as they had 17-of-20 skaters record at least a point in the six-game series and had 13 of those 17 skaters produce multi-point outings.

Mikko Rantanen paced the team with eight points on as many helpers. Valery Nichushkin led his team in goals with four and also dished out two assists.

Tweet from @Avalanche: The final installment. #SloMoSymphony #GoAvsGo pic.twitter.com/DX2sUnfQIK


HIGH-OCTANE OFFENSE

While the Final was by far the narrowest margin of scoring that Colorado had faced among its four different series en route to the Cup, the team still found a way to solve former Conn Smythe and Vezina Trophy winner in Tampa Bay’s extraordinary netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy. The Avalanche averaged 3.33 goals for per game and put up a seven-goal effort in Game 2. The team also averaged 35.2 shots for per game in the series and were 6-for-16 on the power play (37.5%).

Of the game-winning goals in the series, the Avalanche benefitted from four different players coming through clutch with game-winning strikes as Nichushkin, Andre Burakovsky, Nazem Kadri scored, while Arturri Lehkonen sealed the Stanley Cup victory with the go-ahead goal in the Final just as he had done to clinch the Western Conference Final in overtime of Game 4 against Edmonton.

Video: COL@TBL, Gm6: Colorado players skate with Stanley Cup


BLUELINE CONTRIBUTIONS

Makar, who went on to win the 2022 Conn Smythe trophy awarded to the MVP of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the 2022 Norris Trophy Winner, paced Colorado’s blueline in the Final with seven points (3G, 4A), including a power-play goal and shorthanded goal in Game 2.

The team also received two-point productions from Bowen Byram, Devon Toews (2A) and Josh Manson (1G, 1A).

Video: COL@TBL, Gm6: Cale Makar wins Conn Smythe Trophy


STELLAR SPECIAL TEAMS

Colorado dominated the special teams battle over the Lightning as the group was 6-for-16 (37.5%) on the power play and 89.5% (17-for-19) on the penalty kill and also scored one shorthanded goal from Makar.

Rantanen led the team with five power-play points on as many assists, while Gabriel Landeskog recorded the most conversions on the power play with two strikes in the series, both of which occurred in Colorado’s 6-2 Game 3 loss.

Tweet from @Avalanche: The @AltitudeSR call still gives us chills, days later.#GoAvsGo pic.twitter.com/yfb8u0LE30


GOALTENDING GREATNESS

Darcy Kuemper backed the Avalanche throughout nearly the entirety of the series where he made six starts and recorded a 4-2 record, a .908 SV%, a 2.45 GAA, made 138 saves on 152 shots and posted one shutout.

Pavel Francouz made his Stanley Cup Final debut in relief of Kuemper in Game 3. The Czech netminder recorded a .909 SV%, a 2.23 GAA, and made 10 saves on 11 shots.

Tweet from @NHL: #HockeyHugs pic.twitter.com/8V9hWGE19h


OVERTIME HEROES

Two of the six games in the Stanley Cup Final went to overtime, with Colorado winning both of them with Burakovsky’s Game 1 OT winner and Kadri’s heroics in his return to the lineup with the OT winner in Game 4.

Video: COL@TBL, Gm4: Kadri beats Vasilevskiy for OT winner


SACRIFICES FOR STANLEY

It’s no secret that players make physical sacrifices galore come the postseason, but the Avalanche went the distance with their commitment to achieving the ultimate goal as they had many players with ailments bravely suffer through pain in hopes of obtaining victory.

For Kadri and Cogliano, both underwent surgery for hand injuries prior to the Stanley Cup Final. Cogliano missed Game 1, but returned to the lineup in Game 2 and played the remainder of the series. The centerman blocked five shots.

Kadri returned to the lineup in Game 4 and miraculously scored the overtime winner to give Colorado a 3-1 series lead. He also totaled 11 shots in the series.

Nichushkin suffered a lower-body injury in Game 5 and nearly did not play Game 6, but despite limping into the arena for Game 6, the Russian winger played nearly 23 minutes in the Cup-clinching contest. Nichushkin completed the series with six points (4G, 2A).

Tweet from @Avalanche: We’ll stop posting about this someday.Today is not that day 😎#GoAvsGo pic.twitter.com/zYwjzI9owN


BELIEF

A staple of the team’s identity was its belief; belief in the process, belief in their systems, belief in their structure, belief in their commitment to the goal and above all the unified belief the group had in one another.

So, it’s no surprise that during Colorado’s impressive run the team tied the NHL record – the 2009 Pittsburgh Penguins – for the most comeback wins with 10. Two of those comeback wins occurred against the resilient and experienced defending champions in Tampa Bay, where Colorado rose above despite trailing first in Games 4 and 6.

Tweet from @NHL: Can’t forget about Joe! 🤣 #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/sFO9krD0Fd


MARCH WITH THE CHAMPIONS

Avs Faithful, join the Stanley Cup Champions for the ultimate celebration in Denver with the 2022 Parade on Thursday morning. The parade will begin at 10 a.m. at Wynkoop and 17th street.

For more details, please click here.

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