Location: Ball Arena
Time: 8:00 PM EST
Broadcast/Streaming: ABC, CBC, TVAS, SN, ESPN+
Opponent’s SBNation Site: Mile High Hockey
Over the last couple of seasons, the Tampa Bay Lightning have taught us that they usually come back stronger after their losses. Even though their famous 18-game winning streak after losses ended in the Eastern Conference Final, their 19-1 record still looks very impressive. Their adjustments may have started in the first game against the Colorado Avalanche as the Lightning managed to get back into the game after losing the first period 3-1 and nearly stole the win, losing only in the overtime.
Something that worked against the New York Rangers in the previous round, didn’t really worked against the Avs: the Anthony Cirelli line, which had been very effective against Mika Zibanejad line, was massively outplayed in both shot attempts and expected goal share, finishing the game with dreadful 34,78 CF% and 4.67 xGF%. Andrei Vasilevskiy had a terrible first period and surely wanted couple of those goals back, but in fairness, managed to get together and looked very focused in the remaining time.
In shortness, the Avalanche were dominant at 5-on-5, while the Lightning didn’t deliver on the power play. The Lightning will have to learn how to play against Colorado’s top line, which controlled the play with 86.36 CF%, and their forechecking.
TB-COL Statcap— Corey Sznajder (@ShutdownLine) June 16, 2022
Avs controlled most of the 5v5 play thanks to some great forechecking, especially Nichushkin. Didn't let Tampa come up the ice cleanly at all, but the Lightning still found a few breaks that they scored on. The better team won, though. pic.twitter.com/oOnHbCLOkM
Jon Cooper is known as a very reflective coach and adjustments should be expected tonight. He mentioned the Lightning’s slow start, which has been their usual issue this postseason, saying “we dipped our toes in the water” in the first ten minutes. At yesterday’s practice, the team spent a lot of time working on breakouts — their another big issue from Game 1.
As for the line combinations, according to the last practice it will stay the same. With Brayden Point slowly getting into his shape, we might see more of him on the top line with Nikita Kucherov or maybe on the second line, which needs some refreshing after being outplayed in Game 1. Point played a very decent first game since his injury, recording an assist in almost 18 minutes on the ice, but still didn’t look fully healthy. On yesterday’s practice he participated in most drills, but Riley Nash was still mixing in for him from time to time.
The Avalanche’ Andrew Cogliano, who’s recovering from surgery on his right hand, was a full participant on Friday’s practice and is questionable for tonight’s game. Nazem Kadri has also appeared in yesterday’s practice, but didn’t participate in drills, skating separately. The team hopes he will be available when the series shift to Tampa.
Tampa Bay Lightning Potential Lines
Ondrej Palat — Steven Stamkos — Nikita Kucherov
Brandon Hagel — Anthony Cirelli — Alex Killorn
Nick Paul — Ross Colton — Brayden Point
Patrick Maroon — Riley Nash — Corey Perry
Victor Hedman — Jan Rutta
Ryan McDonagh — Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev — Zach Bogosian
Colorado Avalanche Potential Lines
Gabriel Landeskog — Nathan MacKinnon — Mikko Rantanen
Artturi Lehkonen — Valeri Nichushkin — Andre Burakovksy
Alex Newhook — JT Compher — Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Andrew Cogliano — Darren Helm — Logan O’Connor
Devon Toews — Cale Makar
Jack Johnson — Josh Manson
Bowen Byram — Erik Johnson