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AP Photo/John Bazemore
The king is dead. Long live the king.
The Colorado Avalanche beat the Tampa Bay Lighting 2-1 on Sunday night to win the 2022 Stanley Cup Final in six games and end the Lightning’s two-year run as NHL champions.
Artturi Lehkonen’s goal with 7:32 remaining in the second period proved to be the game-winner after Tampa Bay had opened the scoring in the first period and Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon evened it up just 1:54 into the second.
Cale Makar, who won the Norris Trophy earlier this week as the league’s best defenseman, was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the playoffs.
He’s the first player in league history to win the Hobey Baker Award as the nation’s best college player and the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s rookie of the year, in addition to the Norris, the Conn Smythe and the Stanley Cup.
The B/R hockey team took a look at Game 6 and put together a list of takeaways. Scroll through to see what we came up with, and drop a thought or two of your own in the comments.
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Of the young stars in the league, MacKinnon ranks up there among the best.
But even if you’re among the groups that claim Connor McDavid or Auston Matthews are superior to the Colorado Avalanche forward, he officially has something they don’t.
The Stanley Cup.
After five series games in which he’d scored just once on 28 shots, the 2013 No. 1 overall pick flexed his championship-ready muscles in the clincher by scoring the game-tying goal early in the second and assisting on the Cup clincher half a period later.
He finished the playoffs with 13 goals, tying Edmonton’s Evander Kane for the league lead, and 24 points, which were third on the team behind Conn Smythe-winner Makar and linemate Mikko Rantanen.
Now 26, MacKinnon has been a point-per-game player in the regular season for five straight years and has now produced at that rate in all six playoff appearances with Colorado, registering 93 points in 70 games.
For comparison’s sake, Matthews has 33 points in 39 career playoff games with the Toronto Maple Leafs, while McDavid has 55 points in 37 games with Edmonton.
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AP Photo/David Zalubowski
Joe Sakic was a Stanley Cup-winning player in Colorado.
But the moves he made to assemble the Avalanche’s latest championship team as a general manager warrant a similar amount of praise these days.
Among the players that hoisted the Cup on Sunday night, several came in trade-deadline moves that Sakic made to support homegrown core players like MacKinnon and Makar.
Artturi Lehkonen was drafted by Montreal and had spent parts of six seasons with the Canadiens, including an appearance in the 2020-21 Final against the Lightning, before Sakic brought him over on March 21 in a deal for minor-leaguer Justin Barron and a second-round pick in 2024.
Veterans Josh Manson and Andrew Cogliano, who’d combined for more than 1,500 NHL games, were brought over the same week from Anaheim and San Jose, respectively, for a collective haul that included one player and two draft picks.
Several weeks prior to the 2021-22 season, Sakic acquired goalie Darcy Kuemper from Arizona for two picks and a player, and, one year earlier, he snatched defenseman Devon Toews…