The Colorado Avalanche are Stanley Cup champions for the first time since the 2000-01 season.
Colorado defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 in Game 6 of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final on Sunday and prevented the Eastern Conference representatives from winning the title for a third straight season.
Unfortunately, though, the Avalanche's celebration took its toll on the Cup:
It appeared as if the Lightning would build on the momentum they generated from their Game 5 win and force a decisive battle back in Colorado when Steven Stamkos started the scoring in the opening period.
Yet Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon took over in the second period with a combination of speed, skill and ability to create for himself and others by drawing defenders. He scored the visitors' first goal, assisted the winning one from Artturi Lehkonen on an odd-man rush and earned plenty of praise, along with his teammates, for the Stanley Cup win:
Nick Rothschild @nick_rothschild
I'm absolutely marveling at Nathan MacKinnon. I've seen him play great games, but the effort and intensity he's brought to this second period is astounding. True next-level ish <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Denver7?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Denver7</a>
On the other side, Tampa Bay appeared to lose its cool as the game slipped away.
The players complained after the whistle on multiple occasions, and the offense completely broke down in the third period. In fact, the Lightning managed an ugly four shots on goal throughout the last period and never consistently created pressure on Colorado goaltender Darcy Kuemper.
Troy Renck @TroyRenck
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Lightning?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Lightning</a> stewing. Have whined that both goals should have been disallowed. And hit on Helm was ugly. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Avs?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Avs</a> going on power play. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Denver7?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Denver7</a>
Timothy Burke @bubbaprog
they’d already played more games in a three-year period than any other team ever had, & that’s not even counting that they did it in three fewer months than any other team in history. Just didn’t expect it to catch up with them midway through the 2nd per <a href="https://t.co/Iv03z4KQvZ">https://t.co/Iv03z4KQvZ</a>
Even though he wasn't busy for long stretches with the game on the line, Kuemper still made an excellent save on Nikita Kucherov late in the third period to preserve the lead and stopped 22 of the 23 shots he faced.
That was enough to lift the Cup.