Avalanche vs. Lightning: Live updates and highlights from Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final – The Denver Post

Following a two-day break, the Stanley Cup Final between the Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning returns with Game 2 Saturday night at Ball Arena. Stick here for live updates leading up to and during the game. Refresh to see our latest analysis.

Live updates

AVALANCHE!!! (6:32 p.m.) We’re less than 10 minutes into this thing, and the Avs are up 2-0. Josh Manson, the shutdown defenseman, goes on a 2-on-1 with Andrew Cogliano and uses wrister from right circle for the 2-0 lead. — Matt Schubert & Mike Chambers

Power-ful start (6:22 p.m.). Well, that was quick.

Getting a power play just two minutes into the game, the Avalanche took its time, but finally capitalized with approximately 10 seconds left with the man advantage when Andre Burakovsky centered the puck directly to Valeri Nichushkin on the doorstep. One tiny tap, and it’s 1-0 Avs at 2:54 of the first period. — Matt Schubert

The Avs always talk in 5-minute sequences. This one to begin Game 1 is awesome — aided by a Tampa penalty. — Mike Chambers

Avs starters (6:18 p.m.): Landeskog-MacKinnon-Nichushkin; Toews-Makar; Kuemper — Mike Chambers

Pitch invasion. In the same building where NBA athletes soar for dunks and NHL players surge up ice in transition, numerous Tampa Bay Lightning players warmed up ahead of Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final by juggling, none other than, a soccer ball.

Superstition? Maybe. Agility? Perhaps. But hockey wasn’t all that was played at Ball Arena on Friday night.

It should be noted that the Avs — unlike many of their NHL counterparts — are staunchly anti-soccer. Something Andrew Cogliano noticed immediately after arriving at the trade deadline. — Mike Singer

Cogliano returns. Avalanche winger Andrew Cogliano is back in the lineup after injuring his finger while blocking a shot in the Game 4 win over Edmonton. Cogliano, one of the Avs’ top penalty killers, is playing on the fourth line with center Nico Sturm and winger Alex Newhook. Scratched is winger Nicolas Aube-Kubel.

The full Avs lineup …

Landeskog-MacKinnon-Nichushkin
Burakovsky-Compher-Rantanen
Lehkonen-Helm-O’Connor
Cogliano-Sturm-Newhook
Toews-Makar
J. Johnson-Manson
Byram-E. Johnson
Kuemper

— Ryan O’Halloran

Staff predictions

Mike Chambers, Avs beat reporter: Tampa Bay is 18-1 in playoff games following a loss since 2020. The Lightning will get better goaltending from Andrei Vasilevskiy and despite getting thoroughly outshot by the Avs, the Lightning will win by two goals — 3-1 or 4-2. Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper held his pregame news conference; he doesn’t envision any lineup changes.

Ryan O’Halloran, sports reporter: Lightning 3, Avalanche 1. Tampa Bay has had to sit, stand and skate around Denver for nearly 72 hours, stewing over how they lost early in overtime of Game 1. The Lightning will play with heavy urgency, knowing it is unlikely to pull a rabbit out of a hat like it did in the Eastern Conference Final (down 0-2 to the Rangers and won in six games).

Sean Keeler, sports columnist: Lightning 3, Avalanche 2. Two more days for the Lightning to get acclimated to the altitude. Two more days for Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper to come up with a way to slow down the fastest team on ice. The chess matches start now, and how Avalanche coach Jared Bednar counters from here won’t just be fascinating. It’ll be critical.

Mark Kiszla, sports columnist: Lightning 4, Avalanche 2: Nuthin’ against the Avalanche, but dem ain’t the two-time defending champs for nuthin’. On the other hand, if Avs win Game 2, Lightning ain’t winning four of next five games … and the Cup will be coming home to Colorado.

City (dis)Connect (4:15 p.m.): For those not paying attention, and judging by the lack of purple in downtown on Saturday, that’s quite a bit of you, the Rockies are hosting the Padres on the other side of LoDo Saturday.

While the purple pinstripes were few and far between a few hours before first pitch, there were a pair of gentlemen proudly donning the Rockies’ infamous license plate-inspired City Connect jerseys. Which is about two more than we expected to see all summer — not counting the guys getting paid to wear those green monstrosities, of course.

As for the Avs fans this much is clear: The oversized Avs neck chain is the hot accessory of 2022. — Matt Schubert 

Andrew Cogliano “possibly an option” for Avalanche in Game 2

Avalanche forward Andrew Cogliano was a full participant in Saturday’s morning skate, meaning the 35-year-old veteran might return to the lineup for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

“He’s possibly an option,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said from Ball Arena.

Cogliano, who has a team-high 111 games of NHL playoff experience, was among four acquisitions ahead of the NHL trade deadline in March. He’s become a valuable fourth-line winger and penalty killer because of his speed and forechecking abilities. He sustained a hand injury late in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals at Edmonton and underwent surgery soon after.– Mike Chambers

Jack Johnson, 35, is a recent college graduate looking to hoist the Stanley Cup with Avalanche

Avalanche defenseman Jack Johnson is a recent graduate from the University of Michigan who made his Stanley Cup Final debut in Game 1 on Wednesday.

But he’s no spring chicken.

Johnson is 35. It took him 17 years to complete his general studies degree and 15 years to reach the NHL championship series. — Mike Chambers

Stanley Cup Finals, Game 2: Must reads

Avalanche aims to stick to five-minute plan in Game 2 of Stanley Cup Final

Jared Bednar is an evangelist of the five-minute plan. The Avalanche coach doesn’t go period to period but rather as many as four stretches in each frame.

He studies game video in five-minute spans when special teams are not involved and wants his team to focus on playing that way. Beyond the power play and penalty kill, it’s Colorado’s primary focus entering Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.

“It’s just narrowing our focus, staying in the moment,” Bednar said after Friday’s practice at Ball Arena. “You can’t do it all the time. When you hit a penalty kill or a power play, you’re trying to win the two-minute game (but otherwise) we can kind of break it down and we have a good five minutes and we’re moving on to the next. For me, it just helps guys stay focused and in the moment and committed to what you’re trying to do.” — Mike Chambers

Read more from Chambers here.

Game 2 debate: Can Avs win Stanley Cup Final if goalie Darcy Kuemper doesn’t pick up his game?

Can the Avs win with a so-so effort from Darcy Kuemper? Absolutely. Will they? Probably not.

After the first period of Game 1, Tampa Bay netminder Andre Vasileskiy stopped 22 of the next 23 shots the Avs sent his way. How easily the Russian goalie settled down after that opening blitz should unnerve coach Jared Bednar.

Read more from The Denver Post sport staff here.

Avalanche smart to be aggressive in shot selection, despite Tampa Bay’s high amount of blocked attempts

The shock of blowing a two-goal lead overcome and its game re-discovered, the Avalanche were pressing Tampa Bay with less than nine minutes remaining in regulation Wednesday night.

Looking to break a 3-all tie, the Avs’ top line buzzed in the Lightning zone. They controlled possession. They delivered multiple precision passes. They won two races to the puck.

But the Avs were introduced to playing the Lightning in the Stanley Cup Final, when good opportunities rarely reach goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy. — Ryan O’Halloran

Read more from O’Halloran here.

More Stanley Cup Final coverage

  • Stanley Cup Final, Game 2: Five things to watch when Avalanche faces Lightning
  • Lightning confident goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy will help lead bounce-back effort in Game 2 against Avalanche
  • Avalanche injured forwards Nazem Kadri, Andrew Cogliano making progress ahead of Game 2
  • Avalanche Stanley Cup odds: Conn Smythe race, Game 2 prop bets and Colorado’s growing championship odds
  • For third time in four rounds this postseason, Lightning down 1-0 in series … and not concerned
  • Grading the Week: Sorry, Valeri Nichushkin, we can’t trust Vladimir Putin with the Stanley Cup
  • Jumping on the bandwagon? Here’s what you need to know about the Colorado Avalanche

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