Tampa Bay is cementing itself as a powerhouse in the NHL, and after one more Stanley Cup win, could earn the label of a dynasty. They have run the league without contest, finding very few bumps in their road to victory.
However, in the left corner, emerges a new contender for the best in the league. The Colorado Avalanche have made themselves known as a team to beat this year, after 7 years with a record under 45 wins. After breaking the streak with 56 wins and earning the second-best record in the NHL, a championship would put them in a prime position to take over.
The two teams dominated the regular and postseason and made their way into the game to prove it all. With a dominating offense and defense on both ends, each team has a strong case to come home with the Stanley Cup this year.
The Case for Tampa
The first thing we have to bring up is winning. Tampa has a recent winning history, and knows how it feels to win it all, not once, but twice. This team is trained for these moments, and that’s not something you can find in numbers.
With two players on their roster putting up over 80 points in the regular season, Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman, this team can be a powerhouse on the offensive side of the ice when they need to. With Nikita Kucherov playing well and shots being made, this team has a legitimate shot.
Most importantly, Tamps sports the best goalie in the playoffs by the name of Andrei Vasilevskiy. Averaging less than 2.3 goals per game and with a 93% save percentage, he is the engine this defense needs to make a big run. At least we know this game isn’t ending in 4.
What About the Avalanche?
Although this team’s success is recent, that shouldn’t take away from their accomplishments. Their playoff standing and placement in the power rankings at the end of the regular season need to be taken into account because having less than 20 losses is no easy feat.
This team is no doubt the better offensive team. This team has 4 players with over 80 points to the Lightning’s 2, and their bench depth makes an incredible impact as well.
For what Tampa has on defense, Colorado has on offense. These teams are almost a perfect match for a big-time series, and their strengths match up perfectly against one another.
This, quite simply, is tough. Even for NHL coaching staffs, the picks are divided, almost splitting 50/50. These teams match up well, with one of the better goalies in Hockey on the Lightning battling with one of the best offenses in 2022.
Although I love Tampa and their consistent winning gives them an edge, I truly believe the Avalanche is more well-rounded. Even with Vasilevskiy holding down the net, having an elite scoring squad of 4 or 5 capable players may break down that wall.
Although Tampa may be the smarter pick, with their experience and championship pedigree, the Avalanche are the Lightning’s final test. Even with the statistics and goalie work, I give the Avalanche’s intangibles the victory, and Colorado will rejoice after winning in 7.