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Former Avalanche Winger Starring In Stanley Cup Final

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Avalanche nhl Rodrigues compher stanley cup

We see it every single year. When the Stanley Cup Final rolls around, it’s not always the superstars that play the role of hero, but rather the role players throughout the lineups that get the job done. Andre Burakovsky was the hero for the Avalanche back in Game One in 2022, and through two games this year, it’s an old friend getting the job done for the Florida Panthers.

Evan Rodrigues, who left as a free agent over the summer, has three of the seven goals the Panthers have scored in the Stanley Cup Final. In Game One, he scored the all-important insurance goal in the second period after the Oilers left him all alone in the slot. In Game Two, he played an even bigger role.

Three minutes into the third period, Rodrigues was handed the puck by Evan Bouchard of the Oilers. I know us Evan’s have to stick together, but that’s not what I had in mind. Rodrigues stepped into his shot and beat Stuart Skinner high on the short side, giving the Panthers the lead. About 10 minutes later, after Leon Draisaitl took Sasha Barkov out of the game with a questionable high hit, Rodrigues delivered again, tipping in a pass near the front of the net to give the Panthers the two goal lead. Florida went on to win 4-1 and has a stranglehold on the series.

“It’s special,” Rodrigues said to Florida Hockey Now. “I’m just trying to embrace it and stay in the moment. It’s two big wins for our team and I think we’ve already turned the page and we’re getting ready for Game 3.”

Like I said, it’s not always the stars that get the job done in the Stanley Cup Final. Connor McDavid has zero goals. Leon Draisaitl has a pretty dirty hit under his belt, but zero goals and zero points. Even Matthew Tkachuk has been quiet, and hasn’t picked up a point in four games. Guys like Rodrigues are important. He’s a streaky guy, and Avalanche fans know that, but when he gets hot, he really gets hot.

Last season, he had some long slumps, followed by some hot streaks. That’s been the case for his entire career. I’m sure he’ll cool down again, but inside of a series, a small hot streak can make a huge difference to any team. Even when he’s not scoring, Rodrigues is a valuable player. He can play on any line, helps drive possession, and can be trusted at any moment inside of a game. Did you notice who got moved to the top line in the third period to give the team a spark? That would be E-Rod.

I’ve already belabored the fact that I think the Avalanche lost a good one here, so I won’t keep going down that road, but Rodrigues is a great guy. He was always willing to talk, and his teammates loved him. I’m sure a lot of them are rooting for him to get the job done.

Now, he’s just two wins away from a Stanley Cup ring.

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Rick

Very happy for E-Rod. Besides his versatile play and that shootout winner versus Shesterkin I still remember him giving pucks and blowing kisses to his kids during warmups. It’s unfortunate the Avs couldn’t hang onto him but for the number and term he was looking for they obviously wanted more size and youth hence a guy like Wood. The way the series with Seattle went it’s pretty obvious the Avs thought they were too small in the middle 6 and wanted to go bigger

Dave North

The youth part, I get. Apart from that, I would take E-Rod over Wood every day of the week. Sure, he was streaky, but he also played a smart game when he wasn’t scoring. Best of luck to him in the final!

Josh

Always liked Rodrigues when here. Occasionally disappeared, but I liked the energy he seemed to bring.

Bob Neal

I’m enjoying the Cup finals except for the shirtless 3-year old that stands behind the Visitors bench and flexes for the camera with his gold chain on. He seems to have become the darling of ESPN. I dislike ESPN’s coverage having the players name hovering above them, or being circled so one can possibly know who they are talking about. Their replays are not timely and frequently don’t show the incident being described clearly. While I don’ really want McDavid to win a Cup (unlike Nate who won a Cup in 2022), I do appreciate that he is working very… Read more »

JG

I wholeheartedly agree with Bob on ESPN coverage. Screen graffiti is out of control. I used to enjoy their coverage way back in the day. It has added an element of interest for me to see E Rod have success rather than just rooting against the Canadian team.

Frosty

I’m happy for E-Rod, he seems to have found a great home in Florida! They have looked amazing all post season, and I’m cheering them on to win the cup.

Mark Messier

When 1/7 of the cap goes to one guy of 23, that is a problem that will haunt until he is gone!

Rick

I wouldn’t hold your breath too long waiting for MacK to be ‘gone’, Alexander.

hockeyhead

Happy for Erod!! Hope he wins a Cup. I would like Edmonton more if it were not for Evander Kane and Corey Perry. Edmonton has the Corey Perry curse….

HockeyFan

I was lucky enough to pick the 2 teams in the final matchup earlier in the season. Been a great series to watch so far

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