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The Stanley Cup Finals have produced two incredible games, for two very different reasons. Mark Ross looks ahead to what Game 3 has in store.

Heading into Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals the Colorado Avalanche has a dominant 2-0 lead over the reigning champion, Tampa Bay Lightning. The puck will be dropped at 01:00 on Tuesday 21st June 2022 for what is a crucial Game 3. The Avalanche are now the clear favourites and their odds are sitting at 1/6, but don’t count the lightning out quite yet. They have been down in the playoffs this year already and have pulled it back so there is no reason why they won’t again. Sitting at 4/1 the Lightning are the outsiders but, they are the back-to-back reigning champions for a reason.

Game 1 was enthralling right from the start with the Avalanche jumping out to an early lead. Tampa Bay managed to level the score at 3-3 during the second period before a stalemate in the third led us to overtime. Andre Burakovsky was the hero for the Avalanche as he netted the game-winner in overtime. Colorado took the win at home and went 1-0 up in the series.

Despite finding themselves 3-1 down after the first period, the Lightning showed the coolness that they have had all season as they dominated the second period and scored two goals in quick succession. Ondrej Palat and Mikhail Sergachev found the net 48 seconds apart to level the game at 3-3. The final period was dominated by the Avalanche, but some inspired goal tending from Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy kept the Lightning in the game and forced overtime.

Vasilevskiy couldn’t keep it much longer and after the Lightning gave the puck away sloppily, Burakovsky was on hand to net the fourth and deciding goal for the Avalanche.

Colorado didn’t seem fazed about facing the current back-to-back Stanley Cup Champions as they dominated on all the power plays. On the three power plays the Avalanche had scored on one and had plenty of chances on the other two, but more importantly, they stifled the Lightning offence on every power play they had. Not many teams can say that against this Lightning team.

Came Makar, Nathan McKinnon, and Nikita Kucherov were particularly quiet in Game 1, despite having great playoffs up to this point, as both teams relied elsewhere on their goals to come in.

Game 2 ended with the Avalanche running out 7-0 victors as they utterly dominated the Lightning and made the defending champions look like The Mighty Ducks before Coach Bombay got a grip of things. Cale Makar sparked to life in Game 2 after not even registering a shot in the first outing as he finished with two goals. Valeri Nichushkin kept his fine-scoring run going as he netted his seventh and eighth goals of the playoffs. Coach Jared Bednar said after the game: “as close to perfect of a game as you can get from your players”

As close to perfect of a game as you can get from your players

Jared Bednar

He isn’t wrong, beating anyone seven to nothing is impressive, but doing it in the Stanley Cup Finals against the team that has won it the past two years is nothing short of incredible. Tampa Bay has a lot to figure out heading into their home opener at the Amalie Arena. The main thing that needs to be figured out is handling the speed of the Avalanche. Blazing speed and scoring goals are what the Avalanche do and given that Tampa Bay has played more hockey than anyone in recent years, it might finally be taking its toll. But, all is not lost. Two home games in a row for the Lightning will give them a chance to get right back in this series.

Speaking of Game 3, the Tampa Bay Lightning are currently sitting at 10/11 to get on the board and register a win. Colorado is actually favoured to win Game 3 as well with their odds at 20/23. Tampa can not allow this to happen or the series might be over in a hurry. Tampa Bay currently are 8/15 for plus 0.5 on the puck line compared to the Avalanche at 13/10 for minus 0.5. The way the series is shaping up, Colorado at minus 0.5 looks like a safe bet.

Colorado loves scoring and Tampa Bay is going to need to come out firing if they have any hopes of keeping up. With that being said, you can get 9/5 for Steven Stamkos and Nathan MacKinnon both having over 3.5 shots. MacKinnon has been taking shots all season for the Avalanche and Stamkos has to do something to get his team back in it. Cale Makar has finally populated the stats sheet in the playoffs and will hopefully continue. For Makar to get over 0.5 assists and Nikita Kucherov to do the same is 37/20 odds.

Game 3 is bound to be closer than Game 2 but that doesn’t mean there won’t be plenty of goals and plenty of chances. Tampa Bay has to win and the Colorado Avalanche will be desperate to knock the wind out of the reigning champions and take one step closer to lifting the Stanley Cup.


Odds are correct at the time of posting

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