June 13, 2022
* The culmination of the 2021-22 season will start in just two days with Game 1 of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final. The Avalanche will welcome the defending-champion Lightning for the first Final game in Denver since 2001, when current Colorado general manager Joe Sakic led the club to their second Stanley Cup.
* Nikita Kucherov enters the 2022 Stanley Cup Final with a team-leading 23 points, two shy of joining an elite list of NHL players who have reached the 25-point mark in three straight playoff years.
* A comprehensive #NHLStats Pack comprised of the most compelling stats and storylines surrounding the Eastern Conference-champion Lightning is now available.
* A mix of #NHLStats from the 2022 Conference Finals and to date in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs is also now available.
IT ALL STARTS WITH GAME 1 IN DENVER
Two days remain until the 2022 Stanley Cup Final, which pits the Avalanche against the defending-champion Lightning at Ball Arena in their first-ever postseason meeting. Game 1 will mark the first time Denver has hosted a Final since 2001, when current Colorado general manager Joe Sakic (13-13—26 in 21 GP) helped lead the club to their second Stanley Cup.
* The Avalanche and Lightning concluded the regular season with 119 (56-19-7) and 110 (51-23-8) points, respectively, with Colorado leading their season series with a perfect 2-0-0 record (TBL: 0-1-1).
* Five current Avalanche and Lightning players are averaging a point per game in their NHL playoff careers: Nathan MacKinnon (1.36 P/GP), Mikko Rantanen (1.21 P/GP), Nikita Kucherov (1.15 P/GP), Cale Makar (1.08 P/GP) and Brayden Point (1.04 P/GP). The last Final to feature as many players averaging a point per game in their playoff career (min. 25 GP) was 1994 between the Canucks and the Rangers, when Mark Messier (1.29 P/GP), Brian Leetch (1.27 P/GP), Pavel Bure (1.08 P/GP), Trevor Linden (1.02 P/GP) and Glenn Anderson (1.00 P/GP) met that criteria.
* Game 1 will mark the 50th career playoff contest for Makar, who has 12-41—53 through his first 49 outings. Only two defensemen in NHL history have recorded more points through their first 50 postseason games: Bobby Orr (20-46—66) and Brian Leetch (21-44—65).
* Five players in Avalanche/Nordiques history have posted more points through their first 50 playoff games than Makar, including teammates MacKinnon (28-41—69) and Rantanen (18-43—61). The list is rounded out by Hall of Fame members Sakic (33-37—70), Peter Stastny (18-48—66) and Peter Forsberg (23-33—56).
STANLEY CUP FINAL SPOTLIGHT: NIKITA KUCHEROV
As we wait for the 2022 Stanley Cup Final to begin, we take a closer look at Nikita Kucherov (7-16—23 in 17 GP), who enters the championship series leading his team in points for the third straight postseason.
* Kucherov, who posted 34 points in 2020 and 32 in 2021, is two shy of becoming the fourth player in NHL history to reach the 25-point mark in three consecutive postseasons. He would join Wayne Gretzky (1983-85), Mike Bossy (1981-83) and Bryan Trottier (1980-82).
* The Lightning forward has accumulated a combined total of 89 playoff points since 2020. The only players in NHL history that recorded more over a span of three years are legends Gretzky (5x; most recently: 99 from 1987-89) and Mario Lemieux (96 from 1991-93).
* Kucherov, who became the first player in Lightning history to reach 50 career playoff goals in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final, can also become the first to reach 100 assists (51-99—150 in 130 GP). Should he notch an assist in Game 1 on Wednesday, he will have required the sixth-fewest playoff games in NHL history to hit the mark, behind only Gretzky (70 GP), Doug Gilmour (125 GP), Mark Messier (125 GP), Adam Oates (126 GP), Jari Kurri (128 GP) and Paul Coffey (129 GP).
#NHLSTATS PACK: STANLEY CUP FINAL EDITION – TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
With two consecutive championships under their belt, the Lightning have plenty of experience heading into Game 1 of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final. Check out the most compelling stats and storylines surrounding the team in the #NHLStats Pack: Stanley Cup Final Edition – Tampa Bay Lightning, with some samples below.
* The Lightning are making their fifth Stanley Cup Final appearance in franchise history (2004, 2015, 2020, 2021 & 2022), surpassing the Penguins (4x) for the most among all clubs since the Lightning’s first berth in 2004. Tampa Bay can become the first franchise since Pittsburgh to win four Cups through its first five appearances – the Penguins first five Final berths came in 1991, 1992, 2008, 2009 and 2016, with their only loss coming in 2008.
* Corey Perry, who helped the Canadiens reach the Final in 2021, can become the second player in NHL history to win a Cup with a team after losing to them in the prior Final. He would join Billy Carroll, who played for the Islanders in 1984 against the Oilers before joining Edmonton and winning with them in 1985.
* Steven Stamkos can become the fifth player in NHL history to captain a team to at least three consecutive Stanley Cup wins. He would join a list that includes Denis Potvin (4x; 1980-1983 w/ NYI), Yvan Cournoyer (4x; 1976-1979 w/ MTL), George Armstrong (3x; 1962-1964 w/ TOR) and Maurice Richard (4x; 1957-1960 w/ MTL).
* Gabriel Landeskog‘s Stanley Cup dream within reach with Avalanche in Final
* 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Avalanche-Lightning Stanley Cup Final preview
* Lightning’s three-peat bid still alive thanks to ‘pretty special’ group
* Unmasked: Avalanche goalies managing long break before start of Cup Final
* How Eastern Conference champion Tampa Bay Lightning were built
* How Western Conference champion Colorado Avalanche were built