TAMPA — The Colorado Avalanche know the Stanley Cup will be in the building and they’ll have a chance to win it in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Ball Arena on Friday (8 p.m. ET; ABC, ESPN+, CBC, SN, TVAS).
But as challenging as it is, the Avalanche is trying not to think about potentially celebrating with the Cup at home.
“I feel like in every series it’s always, ‘The next game is the most important,'” Colorado defender Cala Makar he said Thursday. “So for us, our focus is just on the next game and regardless of what happens, we’re still going to be a confident group.”
“Obviously we have a great opportunity here to achieve something great for the team, but at the end of the day we just have to focus on ourselves and play our game and then wherever it takes us, it takes us.”
Colorado took a 3-1 lead in the best-of-7 series and moved closer to its first championship since 2001 when center nazem kadri he scored 12:02 into overtime for a 3-2 victory in Game 4 at Tampa Bay on Wednesday. It was an emotional ending with Kadri being the hero in his comeback after missing four games following hand surgery.
However, the Avalanche has been good at enjoying those moments throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs and then moving on to the next task. In this case, it’s about finishing off the Lightning, who have been resilient in their bid to win the Cup for the third season in a row.
Tampa Bay trailed the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 in the first round and won the final two games of that series, including Game 6 in overtime, to advance. The Lightning then lost the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals to the New York Rangers before coming back to win in six games for their 11th straight playoff series win.
“We know what’s at stake, but at the same time, what Tampa [Bay] going to bring and I have to put other emotions aside and focus on the game at hand,” advances Avalanche darren helm said. “As Cale said, we have a group that believes, but we also know that Tampa is going to play their best game. So we have to put all that outside noise aside and focus on what we have.” to do tomorrow.”
Colorado closed out the first round against the Nashville Predators and the Western Conference finals against the Edmonton Oilers in their first attempts at sweeping each series. The exception was a 5–4 overtime loss to the St. Louis Blues in Game 5 of the second round.
Leading 3-1 in that series, the Avalanche jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second period of Game 5 and took a 4-3 lead with 2:46 remaining in the third period, but couldn’t close out the game and lost in the middle Tyler BozakThe goal at 3:38 in extra time. But Colorado regrouped two days later in Game 6, when they recovered from twice giving up a goal and won 3-2 to advance.
“I like the way we’ve closed out the series,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “I think the hardest one, and the one we had to recover from against the Blues, was a really tough loss at home and we went there to their building and played really well. Then in the other series in Edmonton, we had to come back from behind. in Game 4 and we did a good job of keeping up the effort and playing with our identity. Really, all through the playoffs we’ve been trying to do that. Some nights are better than others.
“But I don’t see why we wouldn’t go out there and try to play with our identity.”
Teams that take a 3-1 lead in a best-of-7 cup final are winning the series 35-1 (.972). The 1942 Maple Leafs are the only team to recover from such a hole in the Cup final; they came back from being down 3-0 against the Detroit Red Wings.
Helm was in a similar position with the Red Wings during the 2008 Stanley Cup Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Detroit led 3-1 in that series with a chance to win the Cup at home in Game 5, but lost 4-3 in triple overtime before rallying with a 3-2 victory in Game 6 at Pittsburgh to win the Stanley Cup.
“It’s an opportunity, but pretty much what we’ve been saying, it’s a big game where we have to focus on what we have to do,” Helm said. “I don’t think we’re thinking about anything other than the game itself. Play as hard as we can, prepare and let things work themselves out.”