Rambings: Avalanche of Goals in Game 2, Backstrom Hip Surgery, Debating Bratt (Jun 19)

Ian Gooding

2022-06-19

Whoa… 7-0 definitely wasn't what we expected in what was supposed to be one of the best matchups in a long time. After winning 11 consecutive playoff rounds, the Tampa Bay Lightning might finally be getting snowed in. If the 7-0 score looked bad, it could have been even worse if not for Andrei Vasilevskiy saving a number of other high-danger scoring chances. The Avalanche appear to have too much speed for Tampa Bay to handle (and appear to be doing all the small things as well). The Lightning are finally looking like a team that has endured long playoff runs for three consecutive seasons.

Is Valeri Nichushkin a darkhorse candidate for the Conn Smythe? He added to his playoff legend in Game 2, scoring the opening goal, then again in the second period. He now has five goals and 18 shots in his last four games, with 11 of those shots over his last two games. Nathan MacKinnon is the only Avalanche player to take more shots than Nichushkin during the playoffs (58 SOG).

That being said, with all the excitement about Nichushkin finally blossoming, I'm a bit skeptical as to whether he would have the same level of success with another team if he decides to leave Colorado. In other words, he may not have the same quality of linemates (ie. no MacKinnon or Mikko Rantanen or Nazem Kadri on a career year), even if a team investing in him will give him endless opportunities to succeed. That's not to say that Nichushkin will score at a 30-point pace again because I think he's turned the page on that. However, that's just the reality. The team that offers the most money doesn't necessarily offer the best fit.