The Stanley Cup Final is set.
The Colorado Avalanche will take on the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2022 Stanley Cup Final beginning with Game 1 on Wednesday night in Denver at Ball Arena.
The Avalanche reached the Final for the first time since 2001 where the franchise won its eventual second Stanley Cup, meanwhile Tampa Bay returns as two-time defending champions looking to append with a third-straight Cup victory.
In preparation and after a couple well-deserved days of rest, the Avalanche hit the ice again on Sunday at Ball Arena for an intense session after finding out their official opponent for the Stanley Cup Final. Colorado will look to maximize the eight-day break in between games whereas Tampa Bay will only have half of that time frame before the game action resumes on Wednesday night.
“The mindset that we have is just being ready and staying ready,” Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog said on Sunday afternoon. “We’re not using anything as an excuse. If we’re getting eight days off, then we’re getting eight days off. We’ll make sure we rest up, practice hard and are ready to go. Louis and Edmonton series it was only three days and we got ready for that. That’s just the group we have, we’ll be ready for what we need to do. I think rest is a good thing in the long run. be ready for Wednesday. “
The task of facing the Lightning is certainly a tough one given Tampa Bay’s pedigree as the top team in the NHL for two-straight seasons. Under the tutelage of Bolts Head Coach Jon Cooper, the Lightning boast extensive depth, outstanding goaltending with 2021 Conn Smythe Trophy winner and 2019 Vezina recipient in Andrei Vasilevskiy and lethal offensive weapons including winger Nikita Kucherov and captain Steven Stamkos, one of the best all- around defenseman in the league in former Norris Trophy winner Victor Hedman, stingy defense and nearly unmatched experience among the group who knows what it takes to not just win, but to win consecutively including 11-straight Stanley Cup Playoffs series.
“They’re back where they are for a reason, it’s a very difficult team to win against,” Avalanche Head Coach Jared Bednar said. “The way I look at it is, if you want to be the best you’ve got to expect to be able to beat the best. That’s them. We’re ready for the challenge. It’s going to be a long hard-fought series. Two great teams going at it. We’re confident in what we do. Likewise, I’m sure they are too being back [in the Final] again. “
Even with the task of facing the two-time defending champs that are looking to three-peat – a feat that has not been accomplished since the New York Islanders dynasty four-time Stanley Cup winners (1980-83) did so – the Avalanche are confident in their own team and trust in their own processes that have brought them success throughout this postseason run to-date. And they’re looking forward to rising to the challenge that they’ve long awaited.
“We know where we’re at,” Bednar said. “But the job’s not done.”