DENVER – Colorado have already scored 11 goals in the Stanley Cup finals, but none have come from striker Nathan MacKinnon.
Everything works like clockwork for Avalanche, even with MacKinnon quiet and Nazem Kadri sidelined with a thumb injury.
The team is a fast group that constantly counterattacks, generating one scoring opportunity after another.
It is one of the big reasons why Avalanche led Lightning 2-0. Game 3 is Monday night in Tampa.
“They are definitely the fastest team we’ve ever faced,” said Lightning captain Steven Stamkos. We need to find a way to slow them down. You have to send the puck where you can neutralize their speed, without committing turnovers. “
Colorado have scored at least seven goals on four occasions since the start of the playoffs, last Saturday, when they beat them 7-0.
They are one of seven NHL teams with as many games of seven or more goals in the same post-season.
Avalanche became the first NHL team to score 11 or more goals in the first two finals since 1996, when they themselves scored the feat.
Coach Jared Bednar attributes much of the offensive fireworks to the lull.
The Lightning fought six games against Rangers, while the Avalanche had a long hiatus after wiping out Edmonton.
“Rest is important,” Bednar said. Our team seems to be really focused on the goal. The boys are hungry for victory. “
A different player lives up to the occasion every game, like Andre Burakovsky who scores in extra time as the curtain raises. Or Valeri Nichushkin and Cale Makar score two goals each in Game 2.
They broke through the great wall ‘Andrei Vasilevskiy’.
“We think that’s the way to beat them,” Avalanche defender Josh Manson said of the fast play. But we can’t think they are shaken. We just have to keep our foot on the accelerator. “
Plus, Colorado isn’t afraid to get its hands dirty. Darren Helm leads the playoffs with 84 successes, including 22 in the final.
He also scored in Game 2, his second goal in the playoffs.
“That boy is a beast,” Makar said of the veterans center. He is so motivated. “
On Saturday, Darcy Kuemper joined Patrick Roy as Avalanche goalkeepers with an exclusion from the Stanley Cup final.
Roy had one in 1996 and two in 2001, when the Avalanche won the Cup.
MacKinnon has two assists in the series. Even if he doesn’t have the lead role, he can have a big impact in a more subdued role: win faceoffs, play hard, wear out the opponent, and check ahead.
Mikko Rantanen scored three assists in Game 2. He has provided at least two points in his last four games in Denver.
This ties a playoff record for the organization. The brand was established by Peter Stastny with the Nordiques in 1982, then equalized by MacKinnon in 2020.
While the final continues in Florida, Colorado are away 7-0 since the start of the playoffs.
“They are playing at an elite level right now,” said Lightning manager Jon Cooper. This is not our case. We have to raise the level of play. “