DENVER —I have always longed to be the . It's now the Lightning that stands between the Avalanche & their first Stanley Cup victory since 2001.
Lightning, who is the two-time defending champion, won the competition.To reach their third consecutive Cup final, they will play Game 6 in the Eastern Conference Final on Saturday. These Avalanche have been striving for Tampa Bay's excellence. They are now within reach, if they can overcome the NHL's heavyweights.
Jared Bednar, the coach, said that he sees it as “to be the best you can beat the best.” “That's them. They're the team that everyone wants to be like. They are in the Final for the third consecutive year. They won their second consecutive title. That's what every team wants to do. Not just get there but be relevant each season in all the discussions with the top teams in league.
Colorado has already started the work. The Stanley Cup playoffs are underway and the Avalanche are currently 12-2. They have won both the first round series against Nashville as well as the Western Conference Final against Edmonton. Since securing Clarence Campbell Bowl, Colorado has been waiting for the final matchup between the Lightning or Rangers.
It was almost poetic to see Tampa Bay win (again). Colorado can compare itself to the club that has dominated their sport over the last two years in the hopes of being Tampa Bay's successor.
Colorado defenseman: “They're an excellent team, but they're also confident in themselves.”said. “We have a great team. It is not easy to reach the Cup Final. We are excited about (it). They have a very strong team and we'll have to do everything in our power to beat them. But, we are excited for the challenge.
Bednar said that Colorado hasn't faced Tampa Bay like this in the postseason. The Lightning have great goaltendingThey are also aggressive boxing teams that compete around the net (.928SV%, 2.27 GAA through 17 games) Bednar stated that his focus was on Tampa Bay when they won a series 3-2 over New York. But, the key to Colorado's success is not being intimidated by what lies ahead.
“We need to be true to ourselves,” he stated. We have certain keys we look at, and things we strive to do in the offensive zone. Our skating is the first thing that needs to be addressed. They are a deep, committed, and dangerous offensive team. Great goaltending. You know why they're back at the same place? This is a tough team to defeat. We must be up for the challenge.
Tampa Bay is blessed with playoff experience and the ability to win when it matters. Colorado captainThat's what makes the Lightning such an “invaluable”, and it also factors into why they are such a formidable opponent.
Colorado will be using its recent rest to its advantage. The visible rust contributed to Tampa dropping 2-0 in the series after they had nine days off. Colorado had no such issue in its second-round matchups. The Avalanche won't allow their eight-day break to be an issue.
Landeskog stated, “We are not using any excuse.” “We are going to practice hard, we rest up, and then we will be ready to go. This is just the group that we have. We're ready to do what is required. In the long-term, I believe that rest is a good thing.
Colorado values the possibility of winning that Cup.
Landeskog stated, “It's thrilling to be playing and knowing you're one the final two teams.” We are still in the hardest round. That's an exciting challenge. It'll be great to see how we as a team can overcome it. We've been playing some solid hockey the past six weeks and we want that to continue.”