NHL Morning Skate: Stanley Cup Final Edition – June 27, 2022

NHL Public Relations

* For the first time in 21 years, the Colorado Avalanche are Stanley Cup champions as they staged yet another comeback win to defeat the two-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning in six games.

Cale Makar became the youngest defenseman in 52 years – since Bobby Orr in 1970 – to claim the Conn Smythe Trophy.

* The Avalanche went 16-4 on their Cup run to finish with the second-fewest losses in a playoff year (tied) since the best-of-seven format was adopted for all rounds in 1987.

Nathan MacKinnon tallied 1-1—2 in Game 6 to lead his team to victory and pull into a share of the NHL lead with 13 goals in 2022 – tied for the second-highest total in one postseason in franchise history.

* Acquired just ahead of the trade deadline and playing in his second straight Final against Tampa Bay, forward Artturi Lehkonen scored the Stanley Cup-clinching goal – after putting the club into the series with the Conference Finals clincher. He became the seventh player in NHL history to notch the series-clincher in the final-four and the Final in the same year.

* More #NHLStats from the Cup-clinching Game 6 are available in Live Updates, while a detailed look at Colorado’s championship run is included here.


For the first time in 21 years and third in franchise history, the Avalanche are Stanley Cup champions after staging their NHL record-tying 10th comeback victory of the 2022 postseason to halt the Lightning’s bid for a three-peat. Captain Gabriel Landeskog accepted the Cup – the fourth player born and trained outside North America to do so – and his first hand-off was to Erik Johnson, the longest-tenured member of the Avalanche’s Cup-winning roster.

* The Avalanche became the sixth team to win a Cup with four or fewer postseason losses since 1987 when the best-of-seven format was adopted for all rounds.

* The Avalanche concluded the postseason with a 9-1 record as visitors, tied for the fewest road losses by a Stanley Cup champion since 1987 – equaling the 2012 Kings and 1995 Devils, who each went 10-1 as visitors. The 2020 Lightning also went 10-1 in games where they were designated as the road team while playing in the neutral-site bubbles in Edmonton and Toronto.

* While Colorado never trailed in a series, they became the first team in NHL history to claim four series-clinching victories via a comeback win.

After dazzling with his skill, wowing with his smooth skating and compiling more points in one playoff year than all but three defensemen in NHL history, Avalanche blueliner Cale Makar was named the 2022 Conn Smythe Trophy winner. Awarded to “the most valuable player to his team in the playoffs,” Makar was selected the winner in a vote by a panel of the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

* Makar (23 years, 239 days) became the youngest defenseman in 52 years to win the Conn Smythe Trophy and third overall to do so at age 23 or younger, following Bobby Orr with the 1970 Bruins (22 years, 51 days) and Serge Savard with the 1969 Canadiens (23 years, 102 days).

* Makar claimed the Conn Smythe Trophy five days after receiving his first Norris Trophy. He became the third player in NHL history to win both awards in the same season, following Bobby Orr in 1970 (age 22) and 1972 (age 24) along with Nicklas Lidstrom in 2002 (age 32).

* Check out the #NHLStats Pack on Makar’s Conn Smythe Trophy win and record-setting playoff run.

Twenty-six years after lifting his first Stanley Cup in the state of Florida, Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic hoisted the trophy for the third time and first as a GM. Wearing the “C” for each of Colorado’s previous titles, he is the first in League history to win a Cup with the same franchise as both a captain and general manager.

* Sakic is the third individual in NHL history to win a championship as both a player and general manager with the same franchise. He joined Serge Savard of the Canadiens (player: 8; GM: 2) and Milt Schmidt of the Bruins (player: 2; GM: 2). In addition, Lester Patrick won the Cup as Rangers GM three times, including in 1928 when he also tended goal for the club under emergency circumstances in Game 2 of the Final.

The Avalanche power-play scored at a 32.8% clip during their Cup run, the highest rate on record (since 1977-78) in one postseason by a team that played at least 20 games. Colorado went 20-for-61 with the man advantage, the fourth-most power-play goals in one postseason in franchise history.

Colorado captured its championship five years after finishing last place in the League standings with only 48 points during the 2016-17 season (22-56-4) – among the 10 lowest point totals in an NHL season of 82 or more games. Avalanche veterans Mikko RantanenNathan MacKinnonGabriel LandeskogErik Johnson and J.T. Compher all skated with Colorado during that campaign.

* It was the second time the franchise has won a Cup within five years of a last-place finish, as the Quebec Nordiques ranked 21st in 1990-91 before the Avalanche lifted the trophy in 1995-96 (their first season in Denver). Overall, it has happened five times in the expansion era (since 1967-68).

More stats and storylines on Colorado’s 2022 Stanley Cup run are included in the #NHLStats: Avalanche Reach Mountaintop Once Again, Win Third Stanley Cup in Franchise History document, with a further sampling below:
Mikko RantanenNathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog combined for 29-42–71 during the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs, while Cale Makar had a historic 29-point showing. Landeskog also became the fourth player in NHL history born and trained outside of North America to captain a Cup winner.
* Andrew Cogliano and Jack Johnson joined a rare list of players in NHL history to win their first Cup after appearing in 1,000 career regular-season games. Fellow veteran Erik Johnson, who was selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the NHL Draft over 16 years ago, also captured his first championship.

Darren Helm and Andre Burakovsky won their second Stanley Cup, with Colorado becoming the 12th champions in the NHL’s expansion era (since 1967-68) with two or fewer previous winners and fourth in the last five years.

Nazem KadriArtturi Lehkonen and Valeri Nichushkin combined for eight game-winning goals this postseason (including three series clinchers), while Bowen Byram concluded his first playoffs with a +15.


Avalanche Stanley Cup handoff goes from Gabriel Landeskog to Erik Johnson
How Avalanche won Stanley Cup
Top moments of season for Stanley Cup champion Avalanche
How Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche were built
Lightning full-time staff honored as Lightning Community Heroes



NHL Morning Skate: Stanley Cup Final Edition – June 26, 2022

Andrei Vasilevskiy has been a force for the Lightning when the series is at stake, holding opponents to two goals or fewer in three of four contests in which the club has faced elimination since 2020.

Cale Makar ishaving one of best Final performances by a defenseman in decades with a point in each of the past four games, three multi-point outings and seven points over the first five contests.

* What happens when the top team at home meets the top team on the road, with the Stanley Cup in the building? We’ll find out Sunday as the Lightning (8-2 at home) will look to force Game 7 against the Avalanche (8-1 on the road).

* Sunday will be the 89th game of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the most in a four-round postseason since 2016 (91). Five playoff years in League history have had 90 or more games, excluding 2020 when 130 postseason games were played but only 86 in rounds 1-4.

Andrei Vasilevskiy, a.k.a. “The Big Cat,”will skate in his fifth game while facing elimination since the start of his first championship run in 2020. Over that span, Vasilevskiy has been unbeatable when Tampa Bay’s season is at stake and nearly perfect when he can clinch a series.

* After amping up his teammates before Game 5, Vasilevskiy proceeded to make 35 saves and boost his stats in “must-win” games over the past three years to include a 1.33 goals-against average, .956 save percentage and one shutout.

* With his timely saves and laser focus, the reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner has rebounded from losses in each of his first three career elimination games and now owns a 4-3 record in such contests (2.07 GAA, .926 SV%, 1 SO).

* Vasilevskiy has earned 17 home wins dating to the 2021 playoffs – only five goaltenders in NHL history have earned more victories over a two-year span: Corey Crawford (19; 2013-2014), Grant Fuhr (19; 1987-88), Chris Osgood (18; 2008-09), Marc-Andre Fleury (18; 2008-09) and Ed Belfour (18; 1999-00).

* Vasilevskiy has faced at least 35 shots in four of five games this round and stopped 35 of 37 shots faced in Friday’s victory. Only three goaltenders (since 1955-56) have made 35 or more saves while facing elimination multiple times in one Stanley Cup Final: Ed Belfour (2x w/ 2000 Stars), Tim Thomas (2x w/ 2011 Bruins) and Henrik Lundqvist (2x w/ 2014 Rangers).

Cale Makar has continued to wow fans with hisoffensive production throughout the Stanley Cup Final, and dazzles even with his near misses. The 23-year-old has put his name alongside NHL greats like Paul CoffeyBrian Leetch and Al MacInnis – the only defensemen in NHL history with more points in one playoff year than Makar.

* Makar, who has a point in all but five of 19 playoff contests in 2022, collected his third multi-point showing of the Final in Game 5 and eighth overall this postseason. The only defensemen in NHL history with more multi-point games in one playoff year are MacInnis (10 in 1989), Leetch (9 in 1994) and Coffey (9 in 1985).

* Makar is the first defenseman with three multi-point games in the Final since Leetch in 1994. A blueliner has never had four such outings in the championship series.

* The third active defenseman to record at least seven points in one Final (3-4—7 in 5 GP) – after Victor Hedman (2020) and Duncan Keith (2010) – Makar is in position to become the 10th blueliner in NHL history with eight or more points in the series. Among those who have done so, three went on to claim the Conn Smythe Trophy: Leetch(1994), MacInnis (1989) and Bobby Orr(1972).

* Makar has amassed 36-79—115 (96 GP) during the regular season and playoffs combined in 2021-22, including 8-21—29 in 19 games this postseason. He now sits five points shy of tying Joe Sakic’s single postseason franchise record and four shy of equaling Connor McDavid (10-23—33 in 16 GP) for the League lead this playoffs.

* The Avalanche blueliner, who had five points in a series-clinching Game 4 victory during the Western Conference Final, is within striking distance of becoming the sixth defenseman in the past 60 years to finish as the top scorer in the playoffs (tied or outright). Since 1962, only Scott Niedermayer (2003 Devils; tied), Leetch (1994 Rangers), MacInnis (1989 Flames), Larry Robinson (1978 Canadiens; tied) and Orr (1972 Bruins; tied) have done so.


AMALIE Arena has been a comfort zone for the Lightning this postseason as they are 8-2 in Tampa, one shy of the franchise record for most home wins in one playoff year (9-3 in 2021, 9-4 in 2004). They enter Game 6 having been down this road before, needing a win to force Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.

* The club was successful in that endeavor 18 years ago when Martin St. Louis scored in double overtime of Game 6 at Pengrowth Saddledome in Calgary to send the 2004 Final back to Tampa, where the hosts ultimately hoisted its first Stanley Cup.

* The Lightning were not so fortunate seven years ago in the 2015 Final when they lost Game 6 on the road against the Blackhawks. Duncan Keith scored the Cup-clinching goal that night and claimed the Conn Smythe Trophy. Six players who were in the lineup for that loss remain with the Lightning: Alex KillornOndrej PalatNikita KucherovSteven StamkosVictor Hedman and Andrei Vasilevskiy (DNP).

* The Lightning became the 10th team to win Game 5 on the road while facing a 3-1 series deficit in a Stanley Cup Final. Four of the previous nine clubs then won the next contest at home to force a winner-take-all showdown.

The Avalanche will have their second opportunity to clinch the Stanley Cup, but this time it will be on the road – a place they’ve been comfortable this postseason.

* Colorado is 8-1 as visitors in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs with its only loss coming to Tampa Bay in Game 3. Should the Avalanche reign victorious in Game 6, their nine road wins would set a franchise record for most in a playoff year and finish as the second-highest total in NHL history behind six clubs with 10 (most recently the 2019 Blues).

* Much of Colorado’s success away from home has been a byproduct of its power play. The Avalanche have scored 11 goals on the man advantage as visitors this postseason and own a road power-play percentage of 44.0% (11-for-25). That is the second highest on record (since 1977-78) within a single postseason (min. 9 road GP), behind only the 2019 Bruins (44.1%; 15-for-34).

* The Avalanche have earned nine comeback wins this postseason, which trails only the 2009 Penguins (10) for the most in a playoff year in NHL history. Colorado has had a come-from-behind victory to close out each of its previous three series in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs and were close to another in Game 5 after notching two tying goals.


Lightning resolute facing elimination again in Game 6 of Cup Final
Avalanche confident hitting road for chance to win Stanley Cup in Game 6
Luca Del Bel Belluz aiming to perfect two-way game heading into 2022 NHL Draft
Rod Gilbert NFT patches to benefit Rangers’ Garden of Dreams Foundation
Mikhail Sergachev stepping up for Lightning at perfect time in Cup Final