Quick hitters from the Avalanche’s Game 6 win, 2-1, at Tampa Bay on Sunday night to win the Stanley Cup.
Nathan MacKinnon recorded two points (goal/assist) in the second period and spoke on the ABC intermission report. The question: What are your emotions now 20 minutes away from winning the Cup? “No emotions. Nothing to be happy about,” MacKinnon said. That laser focus carried the Avalanche to a shutout third period to stun the visiting crowd inside Amalie Arena. Finally, MacKinnon can let his emotions pour out in the open. Colorado selected him No. 1 overall in the NHL draft way back in 2013. He scored 13 goals this postseason. MacKinnon is now a Stanley Cup champion.
Lightning forward Pat Maroon swung his stick in frustration — breaking it on Josh Manson’s leg — after Colorado scored two unanswered goals in the second period. Maroon was not called for slashing. But the Avs went on a power-play moments later when Tampa Bay defenseman Ryan McDonagh boarded Darren Helm (PK by the Lightning). Both incidents highlighted cracks in the Lightning’s psyche on the brink of elimination. It was surprising when you consider Tampa Bay’s championship pedigree. Meanwhile, Colorado kept its cool en route to winning the Stanley Cup.
All the skepticism over whether Darcy Kuemper was qualified to lift Colorado to a title is already a distant memory. He was phenomenal in Game 7 making 22 of 23 saves. His lone mistake happened early in the first period when a Cale Makar giveaway in the defensive zone led to a Steven Stamkos goal. Pressure mounted in the third clinging to a one-goal lead. Kuemper stood tall with a shutout period with excellent defensive support. Give GM Joe Sakic credit for the smart offseason trade that brought Kuemper over from Pheonix. He stepped up when the Avalanche needed it most.
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