The Stanley Cup Remaining will final not less than six video games this 12 months after the Tampa Bay Lightning received Game 5 3-2, protecting the Colorado Avalanche away from the Cup for not less than two extra days.
Game 6 is Sunday in Tampa (eight ET, ABC and ESPN+). With Colorado main the sequence 3-2, what are the keys to victory for both sides? How assured are they within the goaltending? And who will emerge victorious?
Extra: Stanley Cup Final schedule
Path to victory for the Avs
Kristen Shilton: Colorado clearly is aware of the way to beat Tampa Bay: Play quick, create rush alternatives and be fastidious within the particulars on the breakout. Something much less, and the Lightning discover methods to push again and capitalize. The Avalanche dominated early on this sequence by means of the impartial zone. That hasn’t been the case these days. And Colorado hasn’t been producing the identical quick begins it used to. If something, the Avalanche have regarded their greatest within the third interval and time beyond regulation within the video games since that 7-Zero walloping they delivered in Game 2.
If Colorado intends to fly house with the Stanley Cup after Sport 6, it has to get again on the assault. There is no level in being afraid to make errors at this level, which the Avalanche appeared to be involved about for many of Sport 5.
Closing out the Lightning is not simple; they would not be alive within the playoffs if it had been. Tampa Bay has been down in three of its 4 sequence. Colorado must show far more desperation in its recreation to close down a Lightning group hardwired to excel within the clutch. The Avalanche have the expertise and instruments required to complete off Tampa Bay. What they need to channel in Sport 6 is the killer intuition that was on the forefront of their early-series performances. Colorado has been wonderful on the highway in these playoffs, going 7-1 by means of 4 sequence.
“We have been good as a result of we simply proceed to play our recreation whatever the venue,” Avs coach Jared Bednar stated after Sport 5. “Guys have been digging in on the highway. We have seen it by means of the common season. We have seen it actually step up into the playoffs. Guys are available in hungry and able to play and play to our id. So it is a 60-minute effort right here. I assumed the sport in Tampa that we received [4-3 in OT in Game 4], we received stronger as the sport went on.”
Kevin Weekes discusses the Avalanche failing to shut out the Lightning on house ice in Sport 5.
Path to victory for Lightning
Greg Wyshynski: The Lightning have believed of their recipe for defeating the Avalanche all sequence. It is simply that within the first two video games their substances had been spoiled by horrible begins — multigoal deficits within the first 10 minutes that had been partially brought on by premature penalties. However prior to now three video games, they began cooking, main after the primary interval in all three contests.
“You’ll be able to see what can occur. Received Sport 3, Sport Four goes into time beyond regulation, this was a good recreation. That is how we need to hold it, that is how we need to play,” captain Steven Stamkos stated. “We all know the dynamic talent set they’ve. If we will keep disciplined, keep out of the penalty field, attempt to get rid of their talent as a lot as you’ll be able to. That is the best way this crew has received and we’re constructed to play video games which are tight like that.”
The Lightning are comfy enjoying in tight video games. They depend on goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, just like the strong 35-save efficiency they acquired in Sport 5, and on nice crew protection that saved Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog, Mikko Rantanen and Nazem Kadri with out a objective in Sport 5.
However they will solely win these tight video games in the event that they get sufficient scoring. Generally that comes from unlikely sources like defenseman Jan Rutta. Typically it comes from clutch gamers like Ondrej Palat, whose 11 targets this postseason have him within the Conn Smythe dialog.
“I do not even know what else I can say to explain the blokes,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper stated. “You are down within the sequence, Cup’s within the constructing. You are in a fantastic surroundings for the house crew. And the way do you present gamesmanship? All the things we simply did. You get the lead, you defend, you kill off penalties, rating on the ability play. After which while you want the large objective on the finish, you get it.”
Goalie confidence examine
Shilton: I might place Darcy Kuemper at a 7.5/10 on the boldness scale.
Bednar did not precisely give Kuemper a ringing endorsement in calling his Sport 5 efficiency “OK,” however then Kuemper did cede an simply stoppable playoff objective to Rutta, so maybe Bednar wasn’t far off.
Kuemper has been inconsistent. That wasn’t a lot of a difficulty as a result of Colorado has been distinctive in entrance of him so Kuemper’s comparative mediocrity at occasions did not require overanalysis. Tampa Bay isn’t any abnormal opponent, and Vasilevskiy no common netminder. There’s extra highlight on Kuemper now than ever and Vasilevskiy has gotten the higher of him.
That being stated, Kuemper was sensational (minus one Victor Hedman backhand objective allowed) in Colorado’s Sport Four victory. That is the place the Avalanche want him in Sport 6. It is virtually a provided that Kuemper will quit one dangerous objective. That might be manageable. I feel Kuemper can outduel the Lightning, if not Vasilevskiy instantly. An important factor is he does not let Bednar — or the rest — disrupt him mentally forward of one other important recreation.
Jan Rutta scores his first objective of the playoffs, sneaking the puck by Darcy Kuemper to place the Bolts up 1-0.
Wyshynski: My confidence in Vasilevskiy is a couple of 9 out of 10.
I do not assume he fairly has the aura he has had in earlier runs. He nonetheless makes just a few wonky saves that give the Avalanche second possibilities. He is outplaying Kuemper, however he had solely 0.28 targets saved above anticipated in Sport 5.
The Lightning’s confidence in Vasilevskiy is principally an 11 out of 10.
“He is performed essentially the most hockey, greater than anybody the final three years. The man simply has it,” winger Pat Maroon stated. “He finds a means each single night time. It’s extremely spectacular. The best way he is been doing it within the common season, enjoying 50-plus video games, three playoff runs. He performs all 60 minutes. So he is the man.”
What we’re awaiting in Sport 6
Shilton: What occurred to Nathan MacKinnon’s end?
He’s dazzling to observe with the puck. He can stick deal with by means of a cellphone sales space. However why has his objective scoring evaporated within the Cup Remaining? Sure, MacKinnon is getting the hardest line matches. And he did technically register a objective when Mikko Rantanen’s go went off his skate in Sport 4. MacKinnon has had flashes of greatness on this sequence that are not producing targets. However MacKinnon wants to truly hearth pucks in. That has by no means been extra crucial than now, on the cusp of a critically essential clincher.
Gamers all the time say the essential factor is producing alternatives and MacKinnon is clearly doing that. However there’s little runway left for him to assist the Avalanche by showing on the scoresheet with tangible outcomes. If MacKinnon is the modified man everybody claims him to be, and is enjoying free, that is the second to point out it with well-timed targets off his stick, reasonably than skate.
Wyshynski: Are we about to witness the pivot level for particular groups within the Stanley Cup Remaining?
The X think about Sport 5 was the Lightning lastly changing on the ability play for less than the second time in 18 alternatives. Nikita Kucherov‘s objective on a 4-on-Three benefit was that additional tally they lacked in time beyond regulation losses in Video games 1 and 4.
“The facility play has been struggling a little bit bit,” Stamkos stated. “Clearly an enormous second within the recreation. Hopefully we will get some confidence off that as properly.”
In the meantime, the penalty kill had its greatest exhibiting. It was the primary time in 5 video games that the Avalanche didn’t rating a power-play objective, having gone 6-for-13 with the person benefit beforehand. However the important thing quantity was two, as within the variety of energy performs the Lightning handed to Colorado. It was the second straight recreation during which they restricted the Avalanche to 2 energy performs. That is large.
Remaining rating predictions
Shilton: I nonetheless assume Colorado is the higher crew. And the Avalanche have not misplaced consecutive video games within the playoffs. Tampa Bay is impressively resilient. The Lightning actually do go away all of it on the ice each night time and Sport 5 confirmed they’re nothing however gutsy. If Colorado can play the complete 60 minutes prefer it did the ultimate 20 of that recreation, and if Kuemper might be his greatest self, the Avalanche ought to discover a means. 4-2 Colorado.
Wyshynski: My preseries prediction was Avalanche in six, and I will stick with that. Kuemper must be higher and MacKinnon, Landeskog and Rantanen have to claim rather more dominance. I feel they are going to. I like them to win one other tightly performed recreation in Tampa and eventually increase the Cup once more. 3-2 Colorado.