Can the Colorado Avalanche keep things rolling now that they face the Tampa Bay Lightning?
June 15, 2022
Do the two-time defending champs have a goaltender that can slow down the fastest team on ice?
Lightning at Avalanche
Ball Arena – Denver, CO
8:00 PM ET
SuperBook Line: Colorado -155 | Tampa Bay +140
It’s taken awhile to finally arrive, but this is the matchup everyone wanted to see. The two-time defending Stanley Cup champions against the most talented team in the NHL.
Colorado hasn’t been on the ice in nine days, as the Avs finished off the sweep of the Oilers on June 6. They could be a little rusty as a result, but long layoffs haven’t hurt them in the past.
The Avs start fast, as they are 3-0 this postseason in the first game of a series. They beat Nashville 7-2 in Game 1 of that series, bested St. Louis 3-2 in an overtime game in which they fired off 54 shots and outlasted Edmonton 8-6 in the opener of the Western Conference Finals.
Expect Colorado to come out flying tonight. The Avs will be peppering Andrei Vasilevskiy with shots, trying to get something past the Lightning’s outstanding goaltender.
As good as the Vezina and Conn Smythe winners have been in the postseason, he has struggled a bit on the road. Tampa Bay is just 1-2 away from home in Game 1s during the playoffs, having been blown out 5-0 by Toronto and 6-2 by New York. It takes a little while for Vasilevskiy to find his groove.
Overall, however, the goaltender has been outstanding in the postseason. He has a save percentage of .928, having stopped 502 out of 541 shots.
Vasilevskiy will see a different attack in this series, though. He’s faced an average of 31.8 shots per game in the postseason. In the Lightning’s closeout win over the Rangers, he saw just 21 shots.
Colorado is averaging 40.7 shots on goal per game during the postseason. As a result, the Avs average 4.64 goals scored in their 14 playoff games, by far the best pace in the NHL.
The Avs just come at opponents in waves. It’s Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, Gabriel Landeskog, Cale Makar, Devon Toews and others. It’s shift after shift. It’s constant attack mode. It’s speed unlike any team in the league.
Tampa Bay will make this a series, but tonight could be ugly. Colorado will overwhelm the champs in Game 1.