Avalanche prepare for the best of Lightning in Game 2

Colorado Avalanche star Cale Makar reminisced about a thrilling win in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals in front of his home fans, but said he was wary of adjustments made by back-to-back defending champions , the Tampa Bay Lightning.

In an up and down game, the Avalanche took a 3-1 lead in the first period, before two Lightning goals in less than a minute tied the game at 3-3 halfway through the game. second period.

The third frame was an uphill and scoreless battle, setting up a next winning goal less than 90 seconds after extra time by Andre Burakovsky.

Makar, who had 22 points in 15 playoff games as a defenseman and spent 28 minutes on the ice in Wednesday’s series opener, told ESPN the atmosphere in the building was unlike anything what he had known.

“It’s amazing,” he said. “Obviously the fans tonight were crazy – I didn’t think they could raise the level of the later laps, but they were able to.

“It was definitely electric in that building, and it’s amazing to play with a great group of guys in the final like that.”

While elated with the result, his attention quickly turned to the Lightning’s championship pedigree and why the Avalanche have to be near perfect to deny him a hat-trick.

“Obviously big teams like them are going to find ways to exploit us defensively,” he said.

“You look at their only goal where [Nikita] Kucherov makes the rounds [Devon] Toews, and feeds [Ondrej] Backdoor Palat.

“I mean, I knew he was doing a backdoor all the time, I just wasn’t there, so overall it’s about staying more mentally prepared and giving them a few less chances. than they had.”

He added: “They’re a great team, they’re going to come up with a different game plan which I’m sure will benefit them.

“We just have to prepare for that, and obviously we’re going to come up with a game plan with what they gave us tonight. You have to adjust, and that’s how the playoffs go.

“To beat great teams, you have to do it, and [Tampa Bay have] have been successful in this area in previous years, so hopefully we can limit the improvements they make from game to game.”

The Avalanche are now 13-2 in the playoffs — winning six straight games — and have comfortably been the strongest offensive team in their run to the Finals.

Averaging 4.6 goals per game, Colorado trails the Pittsburgh Penguins (4.14) and Edmonton Oilers (4.06), with another big gap to the fourth-placed Toronto Maple Leafs (3.43). The Lightning are eighth in the playoffs at 3.06.

Tampa Bay has been pretty successful defensively, giving up just 2.5 goals per game, behind only the Dallas Stars (2.14) who were eliminated in the first round. Crucially, the Avalanche also excelled at their defensive end, giving up 2.87 points per game.

When asked if the Burning Avalanche had started thinking about lifting the Stanley Cup, Makar said it was way too early for that.

“Not yet – I feel like overall this team has been so good at staying in the moment, especially in terms of success, without looking too far ahead,” he said.

“I think if we start looking too far ahead, this is a team that’s going to exploit those little mental flaws, like they did tonight.

“For us, it’s just about staying mentally locked into every game, and not focusing on the future, but just focusing on what we can control in the present.”

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