2022 Stanley Cup Final: What we learned in Game 2, and how it impacts the rest of Avalanche-Lightning series

Game 1 of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final was a back-and-forth thriller, with the Colorado Avalanche winning a 4-3 contest in overtime over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Game 2 was … not nearly as thrilling, with the Avs jumping out to an early lead and then pouring it on en route to a 7-0 win.

The series is 2-0 Colorado as the clubs head to Tampa for the next two contests. Here’s what we learned on Saturday night, and how it will impact the rest of the series.

‘D’ is for ‘dominate’

What else can you say, really?

Colorado dismantled Tampa Bay in Game 2. The Avalanche were better in every facet, from 5-on-5, to special teams, to goaltending, to offense, defense, battles, races — you name it, Colorado excelled at it. It was shocking, in a way, to see the Lightning appear so discombobulated. There was no point where Tampa Bay seemed to turn a corner and try something — anything — to stop the bleeding.

The Avalanche kept pushing. The Lightning never pushed back.

What does that mean for the reigning champions as this series shifts to their turf? Has Tampa Bay’s confidence been cracked? Or is it that the Lightning simply don’t have the legs to keep up with Colorado? They wouldn’t be the first team in these playoffs to realize it. Even Connor McDavid had his struggles. The Avs are now 14-2 in the playoffs and have a plus-33 goal differential.

Tampa Bay needs its own stars to step up. Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos haven’t been visible enough. Neither has Victor Hedman. Andrei Vasilevskiy isn’t getting much help, but his struggles are a significant part of the Lightning’s problems.

The Avalanche are rolling as the Lightning are reeling. Will that momentum shift with the series? We’ll find out, fast. — Kristen Shilton

Game 2 trends flop

It can’t be overstated enough how uncharacteristic this Game 2 defeat was for the Lightning.

They were 9-2 in the second game of a series dating back to 2020, the start of their back-to-back Stanley Cup run. During that 11-game span, they had never given up more than three goals in a game. Andrei Vasilevskiy had a .938 save percentage in those games; against Colorado in Game 2, he gave up seven goals for a .774 save percentage.

But there was another big difference between the Lightning in those 11 games and this one: their starts. The Lightning scored the first goal in nine of those 11 games. In these playoffs, the Lightning were 6-1 when scoring the first goal. So getting on the board early could have made a big difference here.

Instead, their start was a disaster. After a good first shift by their checking line, defenseman Erik Cernak fumbled the puck at the blue line. Then the Lightning turned the puck over in their own zone twice, while the referees let a hooking call on the Avalanche against Alex Killorn go. Then defenseman Ryan McDonagh took a hooking penalty just 1:01 into the game, giving the second-best power play in the playoffs (31.3% efficiency) a chance to cook.

Author: Lucy Green