In their pursuit of a third straight Stanley Cup, the two-time reigning champion Tampa Bay Lightning has overcome plenty of adversity.
Lightning Strike Back With Game 3 Beat Down Of Avalanche
However, after losing the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final against the Colorado Avalanche, the Lightning face their most difficult challenge yet in front of them.
After losing an overtime heartbreaker in Game 1, Tampa Bay was completely annihilated in Game 2, losing by 7-0 and falling behind in the series by 0-2 as the series tilts toward Florida.
The Lightning was in a similar situation against the New York Rangers last season, but the Avalanche are wholly different monsters.
The Tampa Bay Lightning exploded on the road by the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final. Following the setback, the veteran Steven Stamkos issued a message to his team on Saturday.
Following the 7-0 thrashing, Stamkos implored his Lightning teammates to pick themselves up and get their heads back into the series.
“It wasn’t completely acceptable, especially at this time of year,” Stamkos said of the setback, via athletic, “Listen, people, are going to watch this game tonight and probably think the series is over. But our group, we’re a very resilient group.”
He went on. “So whether it’s 1-no, 7-no, or 10-no, you lose in the playoffs and you have to continue. We have to build people as a team and as individuals. Our fans and we are coming to watch is made from?”
Throughout the postseason, the Lightning has been in dogfights.
Tampa Bay defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round, then swept the Presidents’ Cup champions, the Florida Panthers, in the second round before defeating the New York Rangers in the conference final.
Furthermore, the Lightning has played 67 postseason games since August 1, 2020, the most by a single team over the span of three playoffs.
Former NHL star Justin Williams said it could damage Tampa Bay players.
“You’ve played an extraordinary number of games, and obviously the playoffs were a little bit more physical, and everything a little bit more while they were playing,” said Williams, who has been an NHL Network analyst since Game 3: “Right now, these guys are fading. Listen, they’ve played a lot of hockey, but once you get that far in the playoffs, you’re basically running on adrenaline.”
“You feel great, and pretending to play too much hockey is an excuse they just can’t use.”
Tampa Bay was completely overpowered in Game 2, surrendering three goals in the first period as star goalkeeper Andrei Vasilevskiy struggled to keep the game alive.
It just got worse from there, and we’ll see whether the Lightning listens to Stamkos’ words.
They’ve been in this situation before, but it’s difficult to picture Colorado losing like the Rangers did the last series. It will be difficult to win four of the next five games, but this championship squad should not be underestimated. We’ll see how Tampa Bay reacts on their home ice.