After 82 regular season games and 17 more playoff games, the Tampa Bay Lightning kick off their third straight Stanley Cup Final tonight against the Colorado Avalanche. It’s going to be a long day waiting for the puck to drop some time after 8:00 PM EST. That extra day off between the series makes it seem like it’s been forever since they’ve played. Still, it’s better than the break they had between the last two series and hopefully they didn’t lose the edge they had built up at the end of the Eastern Conference Finals.
After a day off and a couple of practices it seems everybody is going to be ready for Game One, even Brayden Point, maybe. But definitely for Game Two, probably. With or without Point to start the Lightning will be ready to go when the puck does drop. Expect the Avalanche to be hyped up as they return to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2001 when they beat the New Jersey Devils in seven games.
There will be over 20 years of pent-up fan excitement in the building tonight so expect things to be electric. It should be fun!
Lightning / NHL News
A series preview [Raw Charge]
I was going to hold it until this morning, but finished it around midnight and decided, why not post it? Colorado’s high-octane offense vs. Tampa Bay’s stifling defense.
Another preview [The Athletic]
Tampa Bay’s low odds here are no matter either — the Lightning faced similar odds against Toronto (38 percent) and Florida (34 percent). Colorado is a better team than both, but Tampa Bay’s odds improve in relative terms thanks to its play in the playoffs.
Yet another preview [ESPN]
Their best defense was a good offense: Getting pucks behind the New York defenders and forcing Fox to defend rather than lead the offensive attack. That’s one way to try to slow Makar, but again, there’s no stopping him.
From yesterday, the Lightning looking fashionable as always.
After 31 days Brayden Point on the verge of returning [Tampa Bay Times]
Lightning coach Jon Cooper said “things are leaning towards him playing” in Game 1, but that the decision will not be made until Wednesday.
“We (aren’t) going to push anything,” Cooper said. “It’s all about how he feels. He felt pretty good (Tuesday). Let’s see how he responds (Wednesday).”
Golden Knights to hire Bruce Cassidy as new head coach [Knights on Ice]
Well, that didn’t take long. It was only a week or so ago that Cassidy was somewhat unexpectedly let go from the Boston Bruins. He’s moving out west as it’s been reported that the Vegas Golden Knights will hire him as their next head coach.
Flyers reportedly offer head coaching gig to John Tortorella [Broad Street Hockey]
ESPN’s Kevin Weekes is all over the head coaching news in the NHL. After breaking the Cassidy story he also reported that the Philadelphia Flyers are going to offer old friend John Tortorella the head coaching job in Philly. That would be fun.
That’s it for news. We have hockey to watch tonight. Once again, remember, this is the fun!