TAMPA – Driven by a 3-2 win that kept them alive and a return to the comfort of the Amalie Arena, the Tampa Bay Lightning players will try on Sunday night to push the grand finale that will oppose the Avalanche to the limit of seven matches.
If Steven Stamkos and his teammates get there, the “Bolts” will become the 7And formation of history to force the holding of a seventh game after losing 1-3 in the final. They would become the second in history to crown this comeback by parading with the cup.
In 1942, the Toronto Maple Leafs fared better when they defeated the Red Wings in the Grand Finals after Detroit won their first three games.
In search of the third consecutive conquest, the Lightning have already won three games with no future since the start of the playoffs. Two on the Maple Leafs in the first round: 4-3 wins in extra time in Game 6 and 2-1 in Game 7And part – in addition to Friday’s victory in Denver.
Will he win again tonight? Very intelligent who can anticipate it. One thing is for sure, Lightning will play their 52 tonightAnd and last game of the season at home: 41 in the regular season, 11 in the playoffs.
Vasilevskiy – Kuemper
Andrei Vasilevskiy obviously played a starring role in these three signed wins in potentially one-night matches. He will play a bigger one if the Bolts force a seventh game. And of course even if they win the Stanley Cup.
More simply, Lightning’s goalkeeper is the cornerstone of his team. Especially since the start of the final, when he has faced 35 or more penalties in four of the five games played so far.
The 4-3 overtime and 7-0 defeats suffered in the final splash suggested that the Russian goalkeeper may be tired. That maybe he wasn’t as dominant as his reputation suggests.
He has since recovered well.
In fact, three of the last five goals he has conceded have been the result of pucks inadvertently deflected in front of him by one of his teammates or an opponent. This misfortune is not meant to discourage the goalkeeper and even less his teammates.
“Vasi is the best goalkeeper in the world. It is a rock in front of the door. We are at the Stanley Cup final. Bad luck is part of the game and you have no right to let yourself be influenced by this kind of bad luck “, argued Pat Maroon in defense of the goals conceded by his goalkeeper since the beginning of the final.
One thing is certain: despite the 18 goals scored by Avalanche since the start of the final, Andreï Vasilevskiy is far superior to Darcy Kuemper, whose “gifts” offered here and there do not help to show much confidence in him.
I also add that if Vasilevskiy had defended the Avalanche network and Kuemper the Lightning one, the series would have been decided in four games and the Stanley Cup would have already paraded through the streets of Denver.
Advantage of the ice rink?
The Lightning are 8-2 at home since the start of the playoffs. A win tonight would equal a franchise record. A record set in 2004 (9 wins, 4 losses) and equaled last year (9 wins, 3 losses).
Brayden Point will not be in play. The central player was on the ice with his team mates on Sunday morning, but Jon Cooper ensured he could not count on him.
“Brayden suffered a serious injury. He may be able to join us in the event of a seventh game, “said coach” Bolts “, who also hinted that his team had not yet offered his best hockey since the beginning of the season, the the final.
Cooper will have to get it tonight.
Because Avalanche arrives in Tampa with a record of eight wins in nine games played away from Denver since the start of the playoffs. That’s two wins on the road less than the record (10) shared by six teams, including the St. Louis Blues, who equaled it in their first win in 2019.
MacKinnon: a bomb ready to explode
After his team’s morning training session, Jared Bednar stressed, as always, that he wanted to be able to count on all his players for tonight’s game. Andre Burakovsky, who accompanied the team to Tampa, remains a very dubious case.
“His absence creates a great void, because he is very effective in transporting the puck into the enemy zone without forgetting that he offers us very big goals”, commented the head coach of the “AVS”.
Burakovsky has missed his last three games after opening the Grand Final with one goal and two assists in his first two games. He has three goals and eight points since the start of the playoffs.
Defender Cale Makar, who will undoubtedly win the Conn-Smythe Trophy if Avs wins.
He has scored three goals and collected eight points so far in the final. He scored in all five games. In fact, he has collected at least one point in 14 of the 19 Avalanche games since the start of the playoffs. Nineteen games in which he scored eight goals and 29 points.
This production contrasts with Nathan MacKinnon’s more timid one from the start of the final. MacKinnon is very involved in games. He orchestrates a lot of offensive thrusts in the enemy zone and has a lot of control of the puck. He might be too much.
The fact that he has only scored one goal since the start of the final – he added three assists – raises criticism for MacKinnon.
I’m not sorry. But when we analyze the games he has played, it is necessary to look at the quality of the work done at his expense by the Lightning.
MacKinnon fired 58 shots from the start of the final. This is an average of 11.6 per game. It’s huge!
Andrei Vasilevskiy blocked 27 of MacKinnon’s 28 shots that hit the target. Ahead of Vasilevskiy, his teammates blocked 22 discs. Which means that only eight of MacKinnon’s 58 shots missed.
With so much fire, it’s surprising MacKinnon didn’t score more often. And that should be a cause for concern for Lightning and their fans, because at some point it’s bound to come!