Lightning-versus-avalanche score: Colorado Clubers Tampa Bay 7-0, 2-0 lead in Stanley Cup Final

Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals started in a similar fashion to Game 1: The Colorado Avalanche came out shooting and built a quick lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning. The difference this time around was that the avalanche didn’t leave lightning off the ropes on its way to a dominant 7-0 win.

The goals came early and often for Colorado, as Valery Nyushchkin opened the scoring less than three minutes into the match with a powerful goal. After nearly five minutes, Josh Manson doubled the lead, and Andrei Burakowski concluded the first half with three goals for Avs. Unlike Game 1, Tampa Bay had no answer in the second period, and Avs put two more goals on the board. Colorado scored two more goals in the third period, going 2-0 up in the series in impressive fashion.

Coming out of Game 2, it’s hard to find any Lightning pros. Everyone from Andrei Vasilevskiy stumbled outside in the face of constant stress from the avalanche. Tampa Bay came back from 2-0 down last round, but they’re not playing for the New York Rangers now. It’s too early to bury the bolts, but they looked quite ahead in Denver.

Lightning is only hoping that a return to Tampa will help change the momentum in this series as the avalanche rolls into Game Three. This game will start at 8:00 PM ET on Monday, June 20.

Before the series heads to Tampa, here are some tips from Game 1.

Every avalanche again

After the lighting was completely beat up in Game 1, I assumed it would give Avalanche more combat in Game 2. Not only was that assessment incorrect, but Colorado somehow took its game to another level. Avs jumped all over the lighting and wouldn’t let them out for air.

In the first game, the avalanche took their foot off the throttle for just a few moments in the second half — and it cost them. The Avs learned from the mistake this time around, and kept their feet in Tampa’s throat for 60 minutes. Colorado had a predicted 2.48 goal while only allowing 0.89 a predicted goal, per natural statistical trick. Avs manages to create high-risk opportunities without giving anything the other way. The rare moment that Lightning was able to reach the attack zone, she hadn’t been there for a long time. The Colorado defense gained control, and soon all five players on the ice went into attack mode. This is perhaps the most exciting team effort that any team has put into this postseason.

Toothless Tampa Bay Offense

Looking at the scoreboard, Avs’ seven goals definitely jump. However, the goose egg on the side of the lightning may be more alarming. I trust Vasilevsky to figure things out, but the Tampa Bay offensive didn’t generate much of anything with two games.

During the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final, the Lightning only managed to muster 40 shots on target and a predicted 1.71 goal. The most shocking part of all of this is how ineffective Tampa’s best offensive players are. In Game 2, Stephen Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point and Ondrej Balat combined scored a predicted 0.0 goal. Colorado deserves a lot of credit for throwing away time and space, but at some point these guys have to play and create some serious scoring opportunities. Otherwise, Avalanche will march to its third Stanley Cup in franchise history.

Shift in Tampa?

Lightning has been so good at home this post-season, they have to hope a change of scenery is the cure for what’s bothering them. I’m not ready to count back-to-back champions, but it’s hard to find any reason to believe they could even make this series based on what we saw in Denver.

When this match was ramped up, myself and many others felt the series was going to go six or seven matches. At this point, Tampa Bay is hoping to make it to game five. The avalanche was playing at a different speed than lightning, and there is no simple solution for Tampa Bay head coach John Cooper. That’s dreary as things have been looking for the Bolts in three years, but maybe they can feed the home crowd at the Amalie Arena.