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🏒Avalanche down Lightning to become Stanley Cup champions

June 27, 2022

The GIST: Move aside, Champa Bay. The Colorado Avalanche are officially Stanley Cup champions after beating the two-time defending champ Tampa Bay Lightning 2–1 last night to win the series in six games and bring the Cup back to the Mile High City for the first time in 21 years. All the small big things.

As it happened: Lightning captain Steven Stamkos lit up the scoreboard first, but the Avs came back with a vengeance to have the final say. Led by Conn Smythe trophy winner Cale Makar, Colorado piled the pressure on Lightning tendy Andrei Vasilevskiy in the second period, with superstar Nathan MacKinnon and Artturi Lehkonen scoring a goal each to finally usurp Tampa.

What’s next: For Colorado? A sweet Stanley Cup parade. For Tampa Bay? Potentially the end of the dynasty as we know it. For the league? Hitting the links and preparing for the NHL Draft on July 7th. Offseason here we come.

🏒Nazem Kadri pushes Lightning to the brink

June 24, 2022

The GIST: The Stanley Cup has entered the chat. The two-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning are officially on the brink of elimination, as the Colorado Avalanche lead the seven-game series 3-1 ahead of tonight’s 8 p.m ET Game 5.

Wednesday’s Game 4 recap: After Lightning center Anthony Cirelli gave Tampa the lead just 36 seconds into the game, the Avs clawed their way back to tie the game and eventually force overtime, where center Nazem Kadri, back from breaking his thumb 18 days prior, scored the game-winner to give the Avs a controversial 3–2 win and hand Tampa a rare home-ice loss.

  • The controversy? Lightning coach Jon Cooper said Kadri’s storybook game-winner shouldn’t have counted because too many men were on the ice. Karma can be a you-know-what.

Tonight’s Game 5 preview: Cue up Lady Gaga because the Avs are on the edge of Stanley Cup glory for the first time since 2001. They have the zeal and momentum to win at home, but don’t count the Lightning out just yet — winning is what “Champa Bay” does best, and goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy is hard to bet against.

  • Will Steven Stamkos and the Lightning push a Game 6, or will Colorado stars Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon finally lift their first Stanley Cup? Let’s do that hockey.

🏒Stanley Cup Final: Lightning strikes at last

June 22, 2022

The GIST: While some NHLers hoisted their regular-season awards last night, the Colorado Avalanche and the Tampa Bay Lightning were preparing for tonight’s pivotal Game 4, fighting for their chance to lift the real prize: the Stanley Cup.

Game 3 recap: Steven Stamkos and the Lightning finally struck for their first win of the series, a come-from-behind 6–2 victory over the Avs in Tampa on Monday night. With right-winger Nikita Kucherov notching another multi-point night, the back-to-back defending champ Lightning are back in action. We have a series.

Game 4 preview: After yielding an uncharacteristic 13 goals through the first three games, expect Tampa’s nearly impenetrable netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy to put on another clinic tonight, especially on home ice, where the Lightning are 8-1 throughout the playoffs.

  • The key to the Avs getting back to their high-scoring ways? Maybe forward Nazem Kadri, who could make his first Stanley Cup Final appearance after suffering a thumb injury in the Conference Finals. Catch the action tonight at 8 p.m. ET.

🏒NHL conference finals: Kadri leads the way in Game 2

June 03, 2022

The GIST: It may still be the early stages of the NHL conference finals, but one team might be skating away with things...

Western Conference finals: It was close…until it wasn’t. After a scoreless first period, the Colorado Avalanche ran away with it in the second, notching three goals and never looking back in their 4–0 trouncing of the Edmonton Oilers to lead the series 2-0.

  • The series now heads beyond the wall to Edmonton, Alberta, where the Oilers will need to level up their defense (and figure out how to stop assist machine Nazem Kadri) if they want to avoid the sweep.

Eastern Conference finals: On Wednesday night, the NY Rangers dominated the two-time defending champions Tampa Bay Lightning, 6–2. That said, despite tonight’s 8 p.m. ET Game 2 taking place at Madison Square Garden, the Lightning aren’t panicking.

  • The Bolts haven’t lost back-to-back playoff games since being swept by the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2019. Get ready to crank up the AC/DC, the Rangers are (likely) about to be thunderstruck.

🏒NHL conference finals: Avs top Oilers in high-scoring Game 1

June 01, 2022

The GIST: And then there were four. It may be the halfway point of the NHL postseason, but there’s no slowing down for the remaining teams competing for the coveted Stanley Cup. Time to lace up.

Western Conference finals: The Colorado Avalanche came out firing last night, notching an 8–6 high-scoring barn burner of a victory over the Edmonton Oilers thanks to Andrew Cogliano sliding in the game winner. Baby, let the games begin.

  • To bounce back, the Oilers will need to buckle down on defense in tomorrow’s 8 p.m. ET Game 2. Pressure = on.

Eastern Conference finals: Battling for the Eastern title are the Tampa Bay Lightning and NY Rangers. Tampa may be the back-to-back defending champs and boast the talent of goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, but never trust the extended forecast — Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin has also been dominant, and the Rangers did win all three regular season matchups.

  • Will Tampa earn its 11th-straight playoff series win or will goalscorer Chris Kreider and the Rangers make their mark? Catch Game 1 of the best-of-seven series tonight at 8 p.m. ET.