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Avalanche Celebrated for Winning 2022 Stanley Cup, Dethroning Lightning

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJune 27, 2022

Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

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.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

The Colorado Avalanche are the 2022 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/StanleyCup?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#StanleyCup</a> Champions 🏆 <a href="https://t.co/hK9UJzTDNk">pic.twitter.com/hK9UJzTDNk</a>

Peter Baugh @Peter_Baugh

With their 16th postseason victory, the Avalanche reached 72 wins on the year, tying the 1976-77 Canadiens, 1983-84 Oilers and 1995-96 Red Wings for most in a season (regular and postseason combined). <br><br>A dominant season. 16-4 in the playoffs.

Pierre LeBrun @PierreVLeBrun

Hell of a run by the Tampa Bay Lightning. Three trips to the Cup final. Two championships. Simply amazing in the cap era. And they’re not going away anytime soon.

Unfortunately, though, the Avalanche's celebration took its toll on the Cup:

NHL @NHL

When you see it... 🙈🙊 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/StanleyCup?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#StanleyCup</a> <a href="https://t.co/93EigCbAWC">pic.twitter.com/93EigCbAWC</a>

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.

B/R Open Ice @BR_OpenIce

Stamkos gets the Bolts on the board first 🚨 <a href="https://t.co/hUudS2LfeD">pic.twitter.com/hUudS2LfeD</a>

B/R Open Ice @BR_OpenIce

MacKinnon ties this game up 1-1 👀🚨 <a href="https://t.co/Gy2MZ1PljW">pic.twitter.com/Gy2MZ1PljW</a>

B/R Open Ice @BR_OpenIce

Lehkonen gives the Avs their first regulation lead since Game 3 😳 <a href="https://t.co/XiFX3XG1Gf">pic.twitter.com/XiFX3XG1Gf</a>

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:

Mark Kiszla @markkiszla

MacKinnon taking over this game. 2-1 Avs.

Summer of George @GeorgeStoia

Guys. Nathan MacKinnon is locked in tonight.

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&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Denver7</a>

Mike Ryan (Ruiz) 🙌🏽 @MichaelRyanRuiz

Already MacKinnon’s best game of the series

Bruce Arthur @bruce_arthur

The Avalanche are a team that deserved to topple a would-be dynasty. Congratulations to ‘em

Tyler Greever @Tyler_Greever

The best team won the Cup. It’s very impressive the Lightning could get this close to a three-peat. But Colorado is a deserving champion.

Trevor Sikkema @TampaBayTre

The Colorado Avalanche were the best team in the NHL this season. The best team won the Cup. The way it should be

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&amp;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&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Avs</a> going on power play. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Denver7?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Denver7</a>

Tim Reynolds @ByTimReynolds

Tampa's strategy of being down a goal but not taking any shots in the first half of the third period of an elimination game is interesting. Let's see if it works.

Timothy Burke @bubbaprog

they’d already played more games in a three-year period than any other team ever had, &amp; 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>

Down Goes Brown @DownGoesBrown

Man, there's a thin line between working the officials and melting down over them. Lightning getting real close to crossing it tonight.

CBS Sports @CBSSports

0 shots on goal so far for the Lightning in the 3rd period.<br><br>11:07 remaining. <a href="https://t.co/7281Irnw2A">pic.twitter.com/7281Irnw2A</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.

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