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Final NHL: Column by Alain Sanscartier on the duel between Lightning and Avalanche

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SPECIAL COLLABORATION

After suffering 6-2 and 3-2 losses at the curtain in the eastern final against the New York Rangers, Jon Cooper’s team showed great signs of maturity on the mind map, in this triumph of the collective over the individual.

The Lightning have made the necessary sacrifices from within to enter the winning circle, winning their last four games after losing 0-2 to the team led by Gerard Gallant.

By choosing to prioritize the words “discipline”, “collective effort” and “two-way effort” over the course of this series, Lightning has limited the opponent to just five small goals scored in their last four outings. This is the perfect example of the great desire there is in this dressing room to participate for the third consecutive year in the Stanley Cup Grand Final and defend the title acquired in the last two seasons.

A strength of character and a “buy in” from the four corners of the locker room clearly present in this serious test of adversity imposed on them by some opponents since the beginning of the current series. Considering that the Lightning are the enemy to beat due to the reigning championship of the last two seasons, the will of the other teams has been great.

Instead of panicking from the inside during the departures of Barclay Goodrow (for Rangers), Blake Coleman (for Calgary) and Yanni Gourde (for Seattle), a 3And trio that had largely contributed to the successes of the St. Petersburg (Florida) training in 2020-2021, senior executives simply refocused on organizational culture and associated with the difficulties of the moment.

They had to make choices in this search for the missing links, a matter of adding good complements to graft on this core of players who were asking for nothing less than to win the third consecutive championship.

The senior management, expertly led by General Manager Julien BriseBois, has shown unwavering confidence in its group of veterans. However, he decided to proceed with some personnel transfers at the end of the operations, but without exaggerating, entrusting greater roles and responsibilities to some internal figures, developed within the organization itself, in charge of adequately balancing the state of forces.

These acquisitions and promotions from within the commercial deadline have certainly provided the Tampa Bay Lightning with that notion of depth much coveted for a team aspiring to top marks.

Pure wisdom, without straying from the primary identity of the team, even if the increasingly older formation has lost speed over time. In Tampa Bay, we play much more responsible hockey with and without the puck.

The team, led with the utmost tact by Jon Cooper and his hockey staff, faced the various critical moments brilliantly. This team inspires maximum confidence in moments of intense heat, it seems to be fueled by adversity.

This victory over the New York Rangers is reminiscent of the series against the Boston Bruins in August 2020 (COVID-19 period), when the Lightning were down 0-1 in the series and then conceded only seven small goals to the opponent in the last four meetings of the series. to finally win.

Lightning advantage in the final

The players of this franchise have long understood the principle that “the offensive wins the games, but the defense wins the championships”. An old adage that always seems to serve well.

We must admit that this balanced team shows the signs of a group on a mission, full of confidence and strength of character, which has the effect of releasing a sense of security in the face of moments of difficulty and great trials.

Will this be enough for the Lightning to take advantage of their next opponent, the mighty Colorado Avalanche? This remains to be confirmed.

One thing is certain, we will be entitled to a duel that promises to be one of the most interesting between the champions of the present (Lightning) and those who inevitably show themselves on the horizon trying to become the next power of the NHL (Avalanche).

The Colorado Avalanche: progress and thirst for victory!

Let’s fix one thing from the beginning: there is no possible comparable to the position of goalkeeper. The Tampa Lightning have a clear advantage on the net with the presence of Andrei Vasilevskiy, without detracting from the duo of Darcy Kumper and Pavel Francouz. It is the same a disturbing grain of sand in the court of the Avalanche.

On the other hand, the Colorado Avalanche management, led by general manager Joe Sakic, has shown patience in recent seasons in managing 101 and in this process of maturing a formation that aspires to great honors.

Fallout of the Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues and Edmonton Oilers since the start of this series, the Colorado lineup is fueled by this chance to present themselves as a serious contender for top marks. Devon Toews

Jared Bednar’s crew have made some great additions in both the recent transaction period and the past few years, which has had the effect of fueling this group’s confidence and progress.

Having suffered the second-round elimination of the playoffs in the last two campaigns (against Dallas in 2020 and against Vegas in 2021), Avalanche faced this adversity of the moment, which will most likely have served as a great learning curve to bounce back. better and above all to learn what it took to win.

A harsh reality that necessarily led to a more critical look from the inside, both on an individual level and on organizational orientations. An essential question in the desire to achieve the ultimate goal, which is to question what could be improved.

Today, the Colorado Avalanches show up in their best clothes. Leadership, depth (despite the loss of Kadri) and balance between players of skill and players who evolve into very specific roles, a matter of distribution of the state of forces. We see a team full of talent.

Taking advantage of a break of more or less ten days after their quick win against the Edmonton Oilers, Colorado could have some significant advantage in this Stanley Cup final.

In conclusion, we will see the final pitting on the one hand the Tampa Bay Lightning on a mission, presenting themselves as reigning champions with the firm intention of replicating the successes of the last two seasons, and on the other, the Colorado Avalanche a more talented team, drooling at the goal of winning the Holy Grail and thus ending the opponent’s reign.

Happy ending everyone!

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