* With just three losses to date, the Avalanche can join elite company should they defeat the Lightning in Game 5 and capture the third Stanley Cup in franchise history.
* Nathan MacKinnon leads his teammates with 15 career points in potential series-clinching games. Only four players have recorded more points in that scenario since the Avalanche forward made his postseason debut in 2014.
* The Lightning are facing elimination for the third time in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs, following 4-3 (OT) and 2-1 victories in the First Round against Toronto, and just the fourth time since 2020 (also Game 4 of 2021 SCSF vs. NYI: 1-0 W).
* ABC’s broadcast of Game 4 between the Lightning and Avalanche was the most-viewed telecast of the day on Wednesday, with 4.6 million average viewers and 5.8 million peak viewers. Overall, the 2022 Stanley Cup Final is averaging 4.2 million viewers, up 67% from last year.
COLORADO ON CUSP OF CAPTURING THIRD STANLEY CUP
Colorado, one of nine teams in NHL history to average at least 4.50 goals-per-game in a single postseason (min. 10 GP), continues its journey toward dethroning the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions Friday and can claim the third championship in franchise history.
* The Avalanche enter the potential Cup-clinching game sporting a 15-3 record and can join elite company if they oust the Lightning in Game 5. Since 1987 when all rounds became best-of-seven, only one team has finished a postseason with fewer than four losses: the 1988 Oilers, who went 16-2 plus their no-decision in the suspended game during the Final (which was tied 3-3 when called), en route to their fourth championship in five years.
* Should they win the Stanley Cup, the Avalanche will tie the NHL record for most combined wins in one season, including playoffs.
* In addition to becoming the first team since 2019 to eliminate the Lightning, Colorado can become just the fifth team in the past 20 years to win the Stanley Cup after concluding the regular season atop its conference. Chicago (2012-13), Detroit (2007-08 & 2001-02) and Tampa Bay (2003-04) are the only clubs to do so through that span.
* Nathan MacKinnon leads all players on Colorado’s active roster with eight goals and 15 points in potential series-clinching games, including a highlight-reel hat trick in Game 5 of the Second Round earlier this year. He is one of five Avalanche skaters with a double-digit career point total in that scenario (also Andre Burakovsky: 5-8—13, Cale Makar: 2-10—12, Mikko Rantanen: 5-6—11; & Gabriel Landeskog: 4-6—10).
* Since his postseason debut during the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, which began with a three-assist outing against the Wild in Game 1 of the First Round, only three players have netted more goals in potential series-clinching contests than MacKinnon (8 G in 11 GP): Bryan Rust (10 G in 19 GP), Jake Guentzel (10 G in 13 GP) and Brock Nelson (9 G in 13 GP).
RESILIENT TAMPA BAY LOOKS TO STRIKE BACK IN GAME 5
The Lightning find themselves in a familiar situation, down by two games in a series for the third time in the past two rounds. In each of those instances, Tampa Bay has responded with a win, something the club will be looking to do once again Friday at Ball Arena with a chance to force a Game 6 on home ice.
* The Lightning will look to extend the Final to at least six games – something that has happened in 11 of the past 14 championship series from 2008 to 2021.
* Only nine defending champions in the NHL’s expansion era (since 1967-68) have been eliminated from any best-of-seven round in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in five or fewer games, with five of those coming in the past 30 years: Los Angeles (5 GP vs. CHI in 2013 CF), Tampa Bay (5 GP vs. OTT in 2006 CQF), New Jersey (5 GP vs. PHI in 2004 CQF), Detroit (4 GP vs. ANA in 2003 CQF) and NY Rangers (4 GP vs. PHI in 1995 CSF).
* In Game 5, the Lightning will face elimination for just the fourth time in 70 postseason games since the start of their 2020 championship run. Each of the previous three elimination contests in that span were decided by a one-goal margin, with Tampa Bay allowing one goal or fewer in two of those games.
* Steven Stamkos enters Friday with the highest points-per-game rate (min. 10 GP) on the active roster in contests when his team has faced elimination (0.63 P/GP), totaling 4-6—10 in 16 games. His team owns a 10-6 record in those contests.
* Corey Perry leads the Lightning’s active roster in both goals and points in contests when his team has faced elimination (10-5—15 in 26 GP). His experience (26 GP) and win total (14-12) sits second among current Lightning players behind Ryan McDonagh (18-9 in 27 GP).
NHL WEEKLY PODCAST ROUNDUP:
NHL @TheRink (6/21): Dan and Shawn talk to Lightning forward Ross Colton
NHL Fantasy on Ice (6/21): Pete and Nick chat with Lauren Gardner of NHL Network
NHL Draft Class (6/22): Central Scouting goalie guru Al Jensen joins Kimelman and Morreale
* NHL, NHLPA announce NFT partnership with Sweet
* Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award winners bond at Stanley Cup Final
*Trevor Zegras talks creative moves, Ducks future in sit-down with NHL.com
* ABC’s broadcast of Game 4 was the most-viewed telecast of the day on Wednesday