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Stanley Cup Finals

Colorado Avalanche vs. Tampa Bay Lightning in Stanley Cup Final

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Colorado Avalanche vs. Tampa Bay Lightning, Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final Wednesday night at 6 p.m. mountain time at Ball Arena.

That much was determined tonight when the Lightning eliminated the New York Rangers in six games of the Eastern Conference finals. Game 1 will be Wednesday, Game 2 Saturday in Denver, then Games 3 and 4 in Tampa on Monday and Wednesday.

The Lightning, in case you’ve forgotten, are the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions. They have a great goalie in Andrei Vasilevskiy, and that will be the Avs’ biggest challenge to win the Cup in my opinion. The Avs have been fortunate to face three pretty mediocre goalies so far in the playoffs (accounting for the injury to Jordan Binnington against St. Louis), but there is nothing mediocre about Vasilevskiy.

The Cup Final between the Avalanche and Lightning would have started in June 18 if the Rangers won tonight, but it’s the 15th now. Injured Avs players such as Nazem Kadri and Andrew Cogliano now have three fewer days of healing time for the broken bones in the right hand.

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Darcy Kuemper is likely to be the starting goalie for the Avs in Game 1, but note the word “likely” and not “definite.”

The Avs will play in their third Stanley Cup Final since 1996. The Lightning will play in their fifth. Tampa Bay is 3-1 in the Cup Finals, the one loss coming to the Chicago Blackhawks in 2015. The Avs are 2-0 in Cup Final appearances.

All the games for the Avalanche and Lightning series will be broadcast on ESPN. The Avs have been off since June 6 after sweeping the Edmonton Oilers in the Western Conference finals. The Lightning is likely to fly into Denver on Monday to begin preparations for the series.

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Adrian Dater - Kiss and Larry Bird fan. Writer with @Gambling and @Bookies, Avs Insider with 104.3 The Fan. Denver Post, SI, Bleacher Report alum, author of seven books.

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greg detter

Wait…game 2 is Saturday, not Friday, right??? I swore I saw Saturday and don’t want to have to change my flight.

Peter North

Sorry? Sorry not Friday

Ted Grycel

The AV’s have the depth, grit and the talent I believe and finally the mindset to get this done. It’s not a cakewalk, but I saw an AV’s team in game 2 against Edmonton play a game that could beat anyone. Puck management and turnovers are going to be so key, the turnovers scare me more than anything. Time will tell if they are truly champions and if this is passing of the torch. Altitude is going to play into this series advantage AV’s. I am glad that it’s Tampa and not NY, NY takes too many cheap shots and… Read more »

Flounder

It’s just Avs. 😉

Dave North

Yes, if Avs can play like they did in that game 2 against the Oil then the will win. But they haven’t managed many such games. Not sure Perry and Maroon are any better than Kane and Kassian. They will do everything to put the Avs players off their game. One interesting aspect of this series is the fact that Tampa in the last two years ended up playing a surprise opponent in the finals. This year the best overall team made it through from the West, and they are well rested. Hopefully that will be enough to prevent a… Read more »

tele_mon

Pertty sure I heard all games will be on ABC and ESPN+, not ESPN network.

Kurt Scherer

brayden point has been out since mid-may and will be a significant x-factor for the bolts should he return. Nothing better in sport than the Cup final.

Dave North

Hopefully Point, Cogs, and Kadri will all be available to play, so we get to see all the best players in the finals. Minus Girard, of course, but since that means more minutes for Byram, I still think the Avs have the edge on defense.

Peter North

Yan is on the pine!

GWood

The Avs are have been and still are the best team in the league. They are 2-0 against Tampa this season, is that any good? They have no problem with winning on the reg at Amalie arena, none. Vasilevskiy is the premier goalie in the league and the series will be tight, but if the Avs play with the consistency and resiliency they have demonstrated all season, they win… Kemps needs to play out of his mind, but I believe the offense will ultimately carry the day. I can see Kads and/or Cogs coming back after game one if they… Read more »

Glendon Gulliver

The Avs are considered the favorites right now, but Tampa is the reigning champ and probably the best opponent the Avs could face. That may be to the Avs advantage not being the heavy favorite. Too often, the Avs play down to their opponent. This will be their toughest challenge in a long time. Soon we will see the stories about Makar vs Hedman, MacKinnon vs Kucherov, and Kemper vs Vasilevskly.

Karl Keen

Well you want to beat the best, you got to beat the best. If Kuemper can step up we can win this! I am more concerned about Perry, Maroon, and Paul endlessly cycling us. JJ will need to earn his paycheck and play physical hockey knocking them off of the puck. Here is hoping that Kadri can return by game 2 with the extra night off and be effective.

DMali

Vasilevsky and Hedman will be able to keep our tip line under control, so well need our depth to come through and Kuemper to play like we know he can but hasn’t yet in the playoffs. Hopefully will be s fun series to watch.

Peter North

LazyDog needs to be a leader, in hustle and IQ, if he can! LDog needs to outplay Stammer, and MacTO needs to outperform Kuch. Our goalies will not outplay Vasy, so the rest of the team needs to do so

Tim Hughes

Why would the article mention how many Cup Finals each team has had since 1996? Why that year, many of these players weren’t even born yet in 1996. I suppose they don’t want to compare unfavorably to the Lightning who are playing in their 4th Cup Final since 2015. 4th Final in 7 years, and many of the current Lightning players have played in all of them. When fans point to regular season record, that’s always a giveaway that they don’t have much deep playoff experience. In the playoffs, there is no relevance whatsoever, none, to the regular season record… Read more »

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