For a matchup that was dubbed as a dream Stanley Cup Final between the Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning, it’s been anything but that — unless you hail from the Rockies.
The Avs have completely dominated this series so far, taking the first two games by a combined score of 11-3 to take a commanding lead with things heading to Tampa for Games 3 and 4.
It’s the first time in as many series that Tampa is facing an 0-2 hole — they managed to come back and defeat the New York Rangers in six games during the Eastern Conference Final — but this is a well-established Colorado team that is far more overpowering than the Rangers.
It’s no surprise that, despite Tampa playing hosts for Game 3 on Monday night, the Avs are the slight favorites (as of Monday morning) to take a 3-0 series lead and put this Stanley Cup Final to bed early.
2022 Stanley Cup Final: Colorado Avalanche at Tampa Bay Lightning, 8 p.m. ET
- Game 3 (COL leads 2-0)
- Watch on ABC
- Full series preview
The fact that the Lightning have won two consecutive Stanley Cups and were on the precipice of a dynasty meant absolutely nothing to the Avs, who have taken all of Tampa’s experience, crumpled it up, and thrown it out the window.
Game 2 was an utter beatdown as Colorado snuck a career-worst seven past Andrei Vasilevskiy in a 7-0 rout while Tampa could only muster 16 shots on Darcy Kuemper’s goal.
This is the overwhelming type of power that Colorado possesses, one that can break down even the most resolute of defenses and goaltenders. Meanwhile, a Tampa offense that has battled inconsistencies (and had to face Igor Shesterkin last round), hasn’t shown much life against a well-organized Avalanche defense.
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Colorado has allowed just 2.8 goals per game over its last 10 while averaging 5.1 goals scored. That’s a recipe for domination, especially when the Lightning are still dealing with some question marks heading into Game 3.
Head coach Jon Cooper said Andrei Vasilevskiy is fine and good to go for Monday night despite not taking part in morning skate. Meanwhile, Braydon Point — who hasn’t been a factor despite returning from an injury for the Cup Final — will be a game-time decision.
Point was Tampa’s leading playoff scorer in each of the last two years, and his absence has taken its toll even though the two-time defending champs have gotten this far.
Until Tampa proves otherwise, it’s going to be hard to pick against Colorado — especially because the Avs have lost just two times so far this postseason.
2022 Stanley Cup Final Game 3 odds and picks