Can the Tampa Bay Lightning Pull Off Another Series Turnaround?

Can the Tampa Bay Lightning Pull Off Another Series Turnaround?
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Though the Stanley Cup Final is just three games in, some Canadian players are making quite the impact. Seeing how the Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche battle has been fun. One thing is unclear. Is this series over?   

When the Colorado Avalanche is rolling, there is no team that can match their pace. That goes for the Tampa Bay Lightning. The dominance at even strength was telling. Add in the special teams' advantage, and it becomes unfair. 

Canadian sports wagerers did not expect Colorado to dominate Tampa Bay in an even more thorough fashion than the New York Rangers did in the first two games of their series. Combine the two games, and Colorado enjoyed a whopping common goals advantage of 4.18 to 1.57. Can the Lightning turn this around? Yes. 

Let us take a closer look. 

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Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar

The best Canadian dynamic duo in the playoffs must be Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar, right? The two did not have the most fabulous start to this series, but Makar scored twice late in the 7-0 rout on Saturday night in Colorado. The defenceman was outstanding in his last two playoff runs, but this year has been otherworldly. He had a mere assist on Monday, but that should not diminish his accomplishments. 

So, the 23-year-old now has seven goals and 26 points in 17 games. Makar averages nearly 3.5 shots per game and plays almost 27 minutes per night. Let this sink in. Makar is doing things at a level like this at such a young age. The defenceman has been unbelievable since he entered the NHL.

Then, there is Nathan MacKinnon. MacKinnon has been quieter on the scoresheet but still has 11 goals and 20 points in 17 games. That includes five power-play goals and a whopping 96 shots on goal (5.66 per game). What is scary is that the center could easily have 15.16 or more goals this postseason. MacKinnon has enjoyed that many quality scoring chances. 

It is incredible how Colorado can play downhill so quickly and find the acceleration to get to the middle of the ice faster than any other team — seeing it all year has been fascinating. Seeing teams trying to adjust to it has been a nightmare. Few teams have genuinely figured it out. In a best-of-seven, trying to stop MacKinnon and Makar leads to the depth scoring taking over.

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Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point, and yes, Corey Perry

The Tampa Bay Lightning needed more from Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point, and even Corey Perry. Games 1 and 2 were rough. Game 3 even was without one of them — Brayden Point. 

Steven Stamkos still had nine goals and 15 points in 19 games, which is more than respectable. It is good on a Tampa team that scored less than usual this playoff run. The problem is that the Lightning needs the Stamkos that scored five goals against the Rangers as soon as possible. Fortunately, the forward found that touch. 

That spin-o-rama goal ignited Tampa Bay on Monday night. It was more than just Stamkos’ 10th postseason goal of the 2022 NHL Playoffs that sparked a second three-goal Tampa Bay run after Gabriel Landeskog cut the Colorado deficit to one at 3-2. 

If that was not enough, Corey Perry capped the scoring for the night. His net-front presence resulted in a power-play goal that ended the scoring. It was Perry’s sixth goal of the playoffs. His two most significant assets are his nose for goals and driving the opposition crazy. With that, Tampa Bay has drawn into a series against Colorado. Can it tie the series and more? Stay tuned.