PRINT | Defeating the lightning bolt is no small task. Indeed, it has been a mission impossible since the first round of the 2019 playoffs.
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In ecstasy, the Avalanche players proudly posed in Tampa Bay yesterday with the coveted Stanley Cup.
Since then, every time he had leaned his back against the wall, the Lightning Bolt had resisted. Led by Andrei Vasilevskiy, with his save percentages of 1.33 GAA and 0.956, the Floridians have been perfect on four occasions.
As all good things come to an end, this brilliant streak of victories ended last night at the Amalie Arena. Nathan MacKinnon, who had been limited to just one goal (and three assists) in his first five games, paved the way for a 2-1 victory.
A victory that allowed Avalanche to lift the Stanley Cup for the third time in its history, the first since 2001.
The reign of Lightning, champions in 2020 and 2021, therefore ended after 20 months and 29 days.
The best since the oilers
The Halifax striker first leveled the game by recording his 13th in the current series. Subsequently he was complicit in the goal of Arturri Lehkonen, the man of great occasions, as evidenced by his four winning goals. This eighth goal of the Finn’s series allowed the Avalanche to take the lead in a match for the first time in 211 min 27 s.
With Colorado having won Game 4 in extra time after being behind for the entire game, we had to go back to the first period of the third game to see Avalanche ahead.
The Lightning made valiant efforts to make a seventh and final game, the guests resisted. It must be said that several Lightning players seemed to be at the end of their rope, their journey being much more torturous than those of their rivals.
The Avalanches were crowned champions after playing 20 games (16-4).
Since 1987, when round four was first best of seven, only one team has suffered fewer than four defeats in their streak: the 1988 Edmonton Oilers (16-2).
“What I feel right now is unreal,” said Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog. I think of my family and especially of our son who will always see him as a father as a Stanley Cup champion “, he added with tears in his eyes.
Makar, the most useful
Unsurprisingly, Cale Makar, who some are already comparing to Bobby Orr, won the Conn-Smythe Trophy. The 23-year-old defender didn’t steal his playoff MVP title.
Despite slightly more uneven equipment in the last two games, Albertan masterfully led Avalanche’s play throughout the tournament.
He had at least one point in 18 of his team’s 20 playoff games.
During this series, he played five multi-point games, including three in the final. At MacInnis (10 in 1989), Brian Leetch (9 in 1994) and Paul Coffey (9 in 1995) are the only ones to have known more.
Furthermore, the 29 points (8 goals, 21 assists) accumulated during these series put him in fourth place in the history of defenders behind, once again, Coffey (37 points), Leetch (34 points) and MacInnis (31 points). Of this quartet, only Coffey did not receive the Conn Smythe.