Posts Tagged ‘Colorado Avalanche’

Nazem Kadri is set to cash in after enjoying a career year right before entering unrestricted free agency. Even though his value is at an all-time high, his No. 1 choice would be returning to the Colorado Avalanche.

“How could it not be?” Kadri said on Sportsnet’s Real Kyper and Bourne.

He added: “The Kroenkes have been great supporters of mine and made it clear to me that they’d like me to stay also, but we understand that there’s a business aspect involved. We’re going to try to work together.”

Kadri set personal bests in assists (59) and points (87) in just 71 games and came up four goals shy of matching his career high of 32. He was excellent during the postseason, too, registering 15 points in 16 games. Kadri also scored the overtime winner in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final in his first contest back from thumb surgery.

Even though he’s set to enter his age-32 campaign, Kadri will be a hot commodity on the open market.

“I’ve shown what my worth is, and I’m just looking forward to watching this all develop,” he said.

Kadri’s previous contract paid him $4.5 million annually, but he’s expected to receive a sizable raise – whether it be from Colorado or another team.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar was voted the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as MVP of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Sunday night.

The reigning Norris Trophy recipient led all NHL blue-liners and ranked third among all skaters in this postseason with 29 points over 20 games.

He’s the first unanimous Conn Smythe winner since the PHWA started disclosing its votes five seasons ago, according to the organization’s president, Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli.

The 23-year-old is also the youngest playoff MVP in 52 years and only the third player to win it at that age or younger. Bobby Orr did it as a 22-year-old with the Boston Bruins in 1970, and Serge Savard was 23 when he nabbed the honor with the Montreal Canadiens one year earlier.

Colorado defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 in Game 6 to capture the Stanley Cup for the first time since 2001.

Makar came into the contest leading all skaters still playing in the playoffs in average ice time at 27:13. He logged 24:21 in the decisive matchup.

He already has an impressive amount of hardware, having also won the Calder Trophy in 2019-20 and the Hobey Baker Award as the NCAA’s top men’s hockey player in 2018-19.

The Colorado Avalanche dashed the Tampa Bay Lightning‘s hopes of a three-peat, prevailing 2-1 in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final on Sunday to win their first championship in over two decades.

Artturi Lehkonen scored the eventual winner in the second period, giving the Avalanche their first regulation lead since early in Game 3.

Nathan MacKinnon provided Colorado’s first tally earlier in the second frame, tying the contest after Steven Stamkos opened the scoring in the first.

The Avalanche outshot the Lightning 30-23. Colorado goaltender Darcy Kuemper stopped 22 of the 23 shots he faced. His counterpart, Andrei Vasilevskiy, made 28 stops in the defeat.

Colorado defenseman Cale Makar won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP after claiming the Norris Trophy earlier this week. He racked up 29 points over 20 games to lead all blue-liners and rank third among all skaters behind Edmonton Oilers superstars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

The Avalanche swept the Oilers in the Western Conference Final.

Colorado went 16-4 in the postseason and never trailed in a series.

Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar became the first bench boss to win the Stanley Cup, the AHL’s Calder Cup, and the ECHL’s Kelly Cup. The 50-year-old captured the other trophies with the Lake Erie Monsters in 2015-16 and the South Carolina Stingrays in 2008-09. Colorado hired him in August 2016.

The Tampa Bay Lightning spoiled Colorado’s party to stay in the hunt for a third straight Stanley Cup title, beating the Avalanche 3-2 on Friday night in Game 5.

Ondrej Palat scored with 6:22 remaining and Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 36 shots in front of a raucous crowd hoping to celebrate the Avalanche’s first championship in 21 years. The Cup was all shined up and in the building, too.

It’s heading back to Tampa for Game 6 on Sunday night. The Lightning trail the best-of-seven series 3-2.

Nikita Kucherov and defenseman Jan Rutta also scored for the Lightning. Valeri Nichushkin and Cale Makar had goals for Colorado. Makar’s third-period tally bounced off the skate of Erik Cernak and through the pads of Vasilevskiy to tie it at 2.

It set the stage for Palat, whose shot slipped through the pads of Darcy Kuemper. A brief hush fell over the crowd.

Tampa Bay regrouped after an emotional Game 4 loss at home on a overtime goal from Colorado forward Nazem Kadri. The Lightning felt the Avalanche might have had too many players on the ice on the winner.

A too many players on the ice penalty was called Friday on Colorado with 2:43 remaining. The Lightning went on the power play and made it so that Colorado couldn’t pull Kuemper until around 30 seconds remaining. They weathered the Avalanche’s late barrage.

Just the Lightning showing their championship mettle. They’ve already rallied back from a 3-2 deficit to Toronto in the first round, and climbed out of a 2-0 hole against the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference finals.

Completing this comeback series win would put them in an entirely different category. Only one team has rallied to capture a Game 7 in the final after trailing 3-1 in a series — the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs.

This is a gritty Lightning squad that’s showing no signs of slowing down even against a speedy Avalanche team and even after all the contests they’ve logged. Tampa Bay has played in 67 postseason games since the start of the first round in 2020. That’s basically an entire extra season.

Their resolve has impressed Lightning coach Jon Cooper. His team improved to 3-0 this season when facing potential elimination games.

The Avalanche are trying to capture their first title since 2001. The Avalanche fans were out in full force — both inside the building (an upper-level ticket on game day was going for around $1,500) and outside at a nearby watch party.

Colorado knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Makar said leading into the game this was the “toughest one that we’ve had so far.”

The Avalanche are 2 for 2 in their visits to the Stanley Cup Final. They also won in 1996, which was their inaugural season in Denver after relocating from Quebec.

Soon after Nichushkin tied it at 1-apiece in the second, Kucherov knocked in a goal off the post. The power-play goal was with Alex Killorn in the box for holding, along with J.T. Compher (holding the stick) and Makar (tripping), making for a 4-on-3 situation.

Rutta zapped some of the energy from the crowd with his first goal of the playoffs. It was on a slapshot from the side that slipped through Kuemper.

It bode well for the Lightning — teams that score the first goal when staring at elimination in the final are 55-25.

“If we had our choice, we would just write our name all the way around the circle (of the Cup),” Cooper cracked before the game.

Colorado Avalanche star Cale Makar is the recipient of the 2022 Norris Trophy awarded “to the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position.”

Makar edged out Nashville Predators captain Roman Josi and Tampa Bay Lightning stalwart Victor Hedman for the honor. The award is voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association. Here’s the results:

RANKDEFENSEMANPOINTS(1ST-2ND-3RD-4TH-5TH)
1Cale Makar (COL)1631(92-98-5-0-0)
2Roman Josi (NSH)1606(98-76-17-3-0)
3Victor Hedman (TB)940(4-14-142-30-2)
4Charlie McAvoy (BOS)358(1-7-22-55-24)
5Adam Fox (NYR)248(0-0-4-61-45)

For the full results, click here.

It’s the first career Norris Trophy for Makar, but likely not the last. He’s just 23 years old and was the runner-up for the award a year ago despite missing 12 games.

Makar recorded 28 goals this season, the most among defensemen. He ranked second to Josi in points with 86, but his underlying numbers were far superior, specifically on the defensive side of the puck.

Evolving-Hockey.com

Makar led all NHL defensemen with 22.7 goals above replacement, according to Evolving-Hockey. Josi ranked fourth with 20.2, and Hedman ranked fifth with 19.8.

Despite having star defensemen like Sandis Ozolinsh, Rob Blake, and Ray Bourque don Colorado’s blue and burgundy in its storied past, Makar is the first player in Avalanche history to win the Norris.

The Calgary, Alberta, native may need to make more room on his trophy shelf, as he’s also currently the favorite to win the Conn Smythe as playoff MVP.

Steven Stamkos, Pat Maroon and Ondrej Palat each had a goal and an assist, and the Tampa Bay Lighting scored four times in the second period and beat the Colorado Avalanche 6-2 Monday night in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Anthony Cirelli, Nicholas Paul and Corey Perry also scored to help the two-time defending champion Lightning bounce back after playing poorly while losing the first two games on the road. Nikita Kucherov and Victor Hedman had two assists, and Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 37 shots.

Stamkos, Paul, Maroon and Perry scored in the second period, when the Lightning chased Colorado goalie Darcy Kuemper while pulling away to trim their series deficit to 2-1.

Gabriel Landeskog had two goals and Mikko Rantanen had two assists for the Avalanche. Kuemper gave up five goals on 22 shots before he was replaced by Pavel Francouz, who finished with nine saves.

Game 4 is Wednesday night at Amalie Arena, where the Lightning have won a franchise-record eight straight playoff games and Colorado lost on the road for the first time this postseason.

Two nights after being limited to just 16 shots in a 7-0 loss in Denver, the Lightning rebounded by finally finding way to neutralize Colorado’s speed and solve Kuemper to avoid falling to the brink of elimination.

The Avalanche lifted their goaltender when Maroon scored a soft goal that put the Lightning up 5-2 with 8:45 remaining in the second. Perry reached behind Francouz to tap in a rebound that came off the right post to make 6-2 with 5:02 left in the period.

The back-to-back champions overcame a 2-0 series deficit in the Eastern Conference final to eliminate the New York Rangers in six games. They’re looking to do it again against Colorado to complete their quest for the NHL’s first three-peat in nearly 40 years.

Cale Makar barely broke a smile after scoring his second goal and Colorado’s seventh of the night. He fist-bumped Mikko Rantanen to thank him for the pass and skated to the bench.

He and the Avalanche are calm, confident, and rolling. They’re now two wins from dethroning the two-time defending champions.

Looking like by far the better team, the Avalanche overwhelmed the Tampa Bay Lightning 7-0 in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday night to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Coach Jared Bednar called it “as close to perfect of a game as you can get from your players.”

“I feel like we played to our identity to a ‘T’ tonight,” Makar said. “We had some good goals and stuff like that. … It was a little bit of a weird one tonight. Obviously, we’re getting opportunities but guys were able to able to capitalize, so that’s the good part.”

Valeri Nichushkin scored his seventh and eighth goals of the playoffs and continued to be the best player on the ice in the final, Game 1 overtime hero Andre Burakovsky beat Andrei Vasilevskiy again and even defensive defenseman Josh Manson and 35-year-old grinder Darren Helm got in on the fun with a goal apiece. Makar, who didn’t even have a shot on goal in Game 1, scored twice in the third period, inciting chants of “We want the Cup!” from a fired-up crowd.

“They’re playing at an elite level right now — give them credit. We are not,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “They’re two good teams. They’re just playing a much higher level right now than we are.”

Rarely have the Lightning been completely outclassed during this run of postseason success, but they also hadn’t faced an opponent like the Avalanche, who forced them into one uncharacteristic mistake after another. Colorado was dominant in every facet of the game to move two victories away from its first title since 2001 and the first by this core led by Nathan MacKinnon.

The Avalanche go to Tampa for Game 3 on Monday night up in the series despite no goals in the series from MacKinnon, who at times has played like a man possessed in an effort to finally break through and hoist the Cup. They still became just the third team in NHL history to score three-plus goals in the first period of Games 1 and 2 in the final.

“We played a pretty good game,” Helm said. “We just played a full 60-minute game.”

The dominant performance started by pouncing on an early mistake by typically reliable Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak when he bobbled the puck at the blue line on one of the game’s first shifts. It was all Avalanche after that.

Their aggressive forecheck led them to draw a penalty on veteran Ryan McDonagh and score on the ensuing power play when Burakovsky fed Nichushkin for his first of the night. It wasn’t his last, and Colorado poured it on with six of the game’s first seven shots and complete territorial domination with much of the game played in the Tampa Bay end.

With Vasilevskiy — whose play was the key to the Lightning’s incredible ability to bounce back after a loss in the playoffs — looking shaky and even dropping his head after letting Makar beat him clean on one of many 2-on-1 rushes, the Avalanche made the most of all their offensive zone time. The highest-scoring team this postseason put on a clinic against the team that has played more hockey than anyone else over the past two years.

That may finally be taking its toll, and it’s exacerbated by the blazing speed with which the Avalanche play. They again not only outskated the Lightning but used quick feet to force errors that turned into goals.

“We came out with a purpose,” said forward Andrew Cogliano, who returned after missing Game 1 with a right finger injury. “We got to our game, we skated from the drop of the puck and we just didn’t let up.”

Tampa Bay fell to 18-2 after a loss since the start of the first round in 2020. The streak of 18 in a row ended in the Eastern Conference final against the New York Rangers when the Lightning fell behind 2-0 before roaring back, though it’s hard to see Colorado falling into the same trap.

The way the Lightning lost this one — by far their biggest blowout loss during this run — came as a surprise to just about everyone.

“Am I shocked that we lost 7-zip?” Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said. “I mean, I don’t think we saw that coming.”

Even if players brush off the concept of momentum from game to game during a playoff series, their romp over the champs combined with a 7-0 road record should fill the Avalanche with confidence. But they might again need to dip into their pool of depth because of injuries.

After getting Andrew Cogliano back from missing the season opener with a right finger injury, the Avalanche lost Burakovsky again in the second period. Burakovsky blocked a shot in the first game in the West final and has been playing through pain since. Bednar said he would be re-evaluated ahead of Game 2.

Colorado is inflicting plenty of pain on Tampa Bay, which resorted to some rough stuff after falling behind. Of course, even MacKinnon was throwing hits in the third period despite the game being well in hand.

Darcy Kuemper was barely tested in net for Colorado, picking up the shutout with 17 saves.

“He was just rock-solid,” Manson said. “He was exactly what we needed to be.”

 Andre Burakovsky scored 1:23 into overtime and the Colorado Avalanche opened the Stanley Cup Final with a 4-3 victory over the two-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night.

Burakovsky ended it after the Avalanche failed to score on a power play that began late in regulation when three-time champ Patrick Maroon put the puck over the glass. Burakovsky is one of only two Avalanche players who have won the Cup.

The game likely wouldn’t have even reached OT if not for big penalty kills by the Avalanche, who were 3 for 3 against Tampa Bay’s potent power play. The final kill featured a crucial save by goaltender Darcy Kuemper and a series of clears by Norris Trophy finalist defenseman Cale Makar.

An earlier kill built momentum for Colorado, which opened the scoring on captain Gabriel Landeskog’s goal 40 seconds after Josh Manson’s penalty expired. Manson — one of general manager Joe Sakic’s expensive trade deadline pickups — more than made up for a holding the stick minor with some big hits.

The Avalanche’s other deadline acquisition also kept up his knack for scoring key goals. Artturi Lehkonen had their third goal of the first period after Valeri Nichuskin scored the second as part of a dominant performance all over the ice.

Tampa Bay’s latest additions also played a major role, with Nick Paul outracing Colorado defenseman Jack Johnson to a loose puck for a goal in the first that limited the damage and kept the defending champs in the game. Brandon Hagel, who has been banged up and was a question mark to play, got beaten to a loose puck by Landeskog, an uncharacteristic goal for reigning playoff MVP Andrei Vasilevskiy to give up by letting the initial shot sneak through under his left arm.

In another example of what has made the Lightning the NHL’s best team over the past three years, they turned the tide in the second period with goals by Ondrej Palat and Mikhail Sergachev 48 seconds apart. That set the stage for the first of what should be many fantastic finishes in a series between evenly matched opponents.

The arena was rocking from the start of warmups for the first Stanley Cup Final game in the city in 2001 — also the last year the Avalanche won the Stanley Cup, with Sakic serving as captain. Fans chanted, “We want the Cup!” throughout the leadup and at times during the game, which was a showcase of the high-scoring hockey that has been the standard all season.

Tampa Bay’s most prolific goal-scorer from each of the past two title runs was back, with center Brayden Point returning to play his first game since injuring his right leg a month ago.

Colorado has a series lead despite playing without forwards Nazem Kadri (right thumb) and Andrew Cogliano (right hand), who were injured last series in a sweep of Edmonton in the Western Conference final.

The Avalanche swept Nashville in the first round, as well, and dispatched rival St. Louis in six before taking out Connor McDavid and the Oilers. If anything, Game 1 against the Lightning showed this series won’t be easy for either team.

The Colorado Avalanche are off to the Stanley Cup Final after completing a sweep of the Edmonton Oilers with a 6-5 overtime win Monday night.

Artturi Lehkonen scored the goal that sent Colorado to its first final since 2001. Remarkably, it’s the second year in a row Lehkonen’s been the hero in Round 3. He scored the overtime winner as a member of the Montreal Canadiens to send the Habs to the championship series last spring.

“I’d trade 10 first-rounders for him right now,” teammate Nathan MacKinnon said of Lehkonen, who Colorado acquired at the trade deadline in March.

Monday’s contest was an instant classic. Cale Makar opened the scoring in the first period, but the Oilers answered back with three consecutive goals in the middle frame.

Chaos ensued in the third, as the teams combined for six tallies. Mikko Rantanen put the Avalanche up 5-4 with just over five minutes to go, but Zack Kassian answered back less than two minutes later to send the high-octane contest to overtime.

Lehkonen’s winner came at 1:19 of the extra stanza.

Colorado will now await the winner of the New York Rangers-Tampa Bay Lightning series, which New York currently leads 2-1.

The Colorado Avalanche are on the verge of reaching the Stanley Cup Final after defeating the Edmonton Oilers 4-2 on Saturday night to grab a 3-0 series lead.

Colorado is seeking its first Stanley Cup Final berth since it won the trophy in 2001.

Saturday’s contest started with a bang, as Oilers captain Connor McDavid opened the scoring 38 seconds in. Less than a minute later, Evander Kane was assessed a five-minute major for a hit from behind that knocked Nazem Kadri out of the game. Kadri will miss the rest of the series.

Valeri Nichushkin scored a pair of goals to put the Avalanche ahead before Ryan McLeod temporarily tied it up near the midway point of the third period. Forward J.T. Compher put Colorado up for good with seven minutes to go, and Mikko Rantanen deposited an empty-netter in the dying seconds.

“Obviously not a great situation to be in, down three. Series isn’t over, obviously. Gotta go one at a time here,” McDavid said after the game.

“It’s not an ideal spot, but we’re not quitting on each other yet,” added defenseman Cody Ceci.

The Avalanche outshot the Oilers 43-29 in Game 3 but did much of their damage on the power play. At five-on-five, Edmonton had 75.68% of scoring chances and 60.62% of expected goals, according to Natural Stat Trick.

Colorado is a perfect 6-0 on the road in the playoffs, and superstar center Nathan MacKinnon believes his team has the perfect recipe for success away from home.

“You don’t gotta please anybody. We’re here to make it boring and gross,” he said, per ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski.

Game 4 is slated for Monday night in Edmonton.