Avalanche Dethrone Lightning, Win Stanley Cup
The NHL will not have a back-to-back-to-back Stanley Cup champion.
The Colorado Avalanche defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning, 2-1, in Game 6 Sunday night to win the Stanley Cup. Colorado wins the series in six games, dethroning the defending back-to-back champion Lightning.
The Avalanche hoists the Stanley Cup for the third time in franchise history, breaking a 21-year drought.
The Lightning offense came out buzzing early on offense in the first period, eventually tallying the game’s first goal just minutes into Game 6.
Tampa Bay’s captain Steven Stamkos lit the lamp a 3:48 to give the Lightning the early 1-0 lead. A loose puck came Stamkos’ way in front of the Colorado net before he fired a turnaround wrister past Avalanche netminder Darcy Kuemper.
The Lightning still led 1-0 to start the second period, but the Avalanche got on the board at 1:54 when Nathan MacKinnon fired home a one-timer from the bottom of the circle into the back of the net tying things up at 1-1.
Just past the midway point of the second, the Avalanche took their first lead of the game. On a botched three-on-two for the Avalanche, a deflected pass ended up on the stick of Artturi Lehkonen, who snapped a top shelf goal to put Colorado up, 2-1.
The Avalanche held the Lightning without a shot on goal through the first half of the period. Ryan McDonagh finally broke the streak at 9:54 of the third.
With Tampa Bay still trailing 2-1, they pulled goaltender Andrei Vasilevsky for the extra attacker with 1:15 left but could not notch the equalizer.
Colorado was solid in front of Kuemper throughout Game 6, holding the Lightning to 23 shots for the game and only four attempts on net in the third period.
Kuemper turned away 22 shots, earning his 10th and most important victory of the playoffs.
The Avalanche finished the regular season with the best record in the Western Conference (56-19-7), earning the top spot in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Colorado opened the postseason by sweeping the Nashville Predators in four games. In the second round, the Avalanche defeated the St. Louis Blues in six games to advance to the Western Conference Final.
The Avalanche posted their second playoff sweep in the conference semifinals, knocking off Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers in four games.