It’s no secret the Tampa Bay Lightning are seeking their third consecutive Stanley Cup, the prized three-peat no team has accomplished since the 1983 New York Islanders. Though the Bolts stormed back from two games down to defeat the New York Islanders in the Eastern Conference Finals, they find themselves in another 2-0 deficit heading into Game 3 of the Stanley Cup against the Colorado Avalanche.
This has happened before. In 1956, 1962, 1966, and 1976 the Canadiens, Maple Leafs, Red Wings, and Canadiens, respectively, all took 2-0 leads in the Finals against the defending champions. All but the Red Wings won. This bodes well for the Avalanche but is a serious problem for Tampa Bay. For all their championship pedigree, banners in the rafters, and self-belief, this Lightning team may be facing a challenge unlike any they have encountered in recent seasons.
Will Tampa Bay Get the Hat Trick?
After defeating the Dallas Stars in 2020 and Montreal Canadiens in 2021 by comfortable margins to secure their back-to-back Stanley Cups, Tampa Bay arrived in the 2022 Finals to face the Colorado Avalanche, owners of the best record in the Western Conference and a 4-0 demolition of Edmonton in the Western Conference Finals. The Avs squeezed out a win at home in the opener 4-3 on an overtime winner from Andre Burakovsky and had almost twice as many scoring chances as the Lightning. But the real revelation came in game two.
Colorado Is Due For a Win
Colorado put on a devastating performance on Saturday night, crushing the defending champions 7-0 in one of the most lopsided finals games in recent memory. Yet it was Colorado’s fourth seven-goal performance this post-season. The Avalanche played with blistering bursts of speed, with Valeri Nichushkin and Cale Makar both netting twice for the Avs. The Avalanche have 11 goals through two games and star scorer Nathan MacKinnon has yet to find the back of the net. What was particularly surprising on Saturday is that Colorado put seven past Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy, the winner of the 2021 Conn Smythe Trophy and goalie of the Lightning’s back-to-back championships. But the Bolts played poorly all around. The 2020 Conn Smythe winner Victor Hedman was outplayed by Makar head-to-head, while Ryan McDonagh’s hooking penalty early in the game handed the high-scoring Avs a quick power play which they capitalized on for the early lead.
But that was in the thin air at Ball Arena in Denver. Now the teams head to Amalie Arena in Tampa for Game 3 at 8 p.m. ET Monday night. Will the high-pressure press from Colorado prove to be too much for the Bolts to handle, or will they hatch a strategy to neutralize Colorado’s speed and claw their way back on home ice?
How to Watch the Stanley Cup Finals
Catch all the action in Game 3 on Monday, June 20 at 8 p.m. ET, on ABC, ESPN+, and in the ESPN App. DIRECTV STREAM subscribers can stream ABC live on the DIRECTV STREAM app or use their ESPN plus login through the DIRECTV STREAM device. For more on dates, times, and channels for the Stanley Cup Finals, check out our full NHL Playoffs TV schedule. And don’t forget—new DIRECTV STREAM customers ordering CHOICE or ULTIMATE Package can get HBO Max, SHOWTIME, STARZ, EPIX, and Cinemax included for the first 3 months!
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