Facing the league's most dynamic offence in Colorado, the Tampa Bay Lightning will be prepared to play whatever style of hockey needed to get their hands on a third-straight Stanley Cup.
SAM CHANG: Watching the Tampa-New York series, there were parts of that series where I was like, this is boring. Like, this is boring. Watching this game is painful. And I had moments like you where I'm like, is Tampa just going to, like, slow Colorado down so much that it will just be boring? Because that would actually be the worst.
OMAR: Yeah. I mean, I think you-- I wonder if that might be the perspective going into it. Because again, like, Tampa can win in any way, shape, or form. And I think the interesting thing this year, and it's-- and it's odd because you can probably say the same thing of, like, the first Cup or the second Cup, is just like, that team wants it, man. Like, they-- I think they're treating this as if it's, like, you know, their first opportunity at a Cup. Like, they want the three in a row.
And from that, I think they're willing to do whatever it takes to win. So if that means like, hey, we're going to morph into Dallas and then play like a ridiculously boring hockey, which would suck for us. But, like, they have the system. They have the players. And then Vasilevskiy, man, Vasilevskiy--
JULIAN MCKENZIE: So good.
OMAR: --he's like a first ballot Hall of Famer now. Like, honestly. And when it comes down to that, I think that would-- might be the most frustrating thing for the Avalanche. Because again, they're a team that can create, can score in any way, shape, or form. Their players are ridiculous. The way that they can move the puck is ridiculous. But, like, if Vasilevskiy takes his, like, elimination game self and just spreads it throughout the entire series and then they just start to lock things down, it can be really frustrating for Colorado. So I think it'll be an interesting coaching battle, I think.
And I think for-- in a series like this, you usually don't really care too much about the coach. You just like the players. But like, I'm really interested to see what Jared Bednar's approach is going to be, and then also what John Cooper's approach is going to be, and how that changes. Because obviously, they're going to go in with their own, like, perspectives. But the first 10 minutes, I guess you kind of see how things go. It'll be interesting to see how either team adapts to each other and, I guess, tries to get the upper hand as the series continues.
JULIAN MCKENZIE: Yeah, like, my big thing is the adjustment factor, right? And I'll let Cuth get it after this. But, like, I think the adjustment thing is going to be huge. I could totally see a situation where maybe the Avs start to get their way. But inevitably, John Cooper is going to find a way to adjust. And if it gets to that point, how will Jared Bednar respond? There's-- there is a coaching battle that I don't think has been hyped up enough in this series compared to other matchups.
JUSTIN CUTHBERT: Yeah, I think that's why you might have to savor the first two games because I feel like the adjustments will come from Tampa Bay, like, a little bit later, if it's not going so well. If there is any negative, like, Tampa in this, you know, potential three-peat is, like, they had to become a boring team in some ways to, you know, achieve this potential. And I feel like we could just see the same thing over and over again at points in the series where it's like, Tampa really conservative, dropping back five men behind the puck, just, like, constantly setting up walls for Colorado to try and break through.
I feel like that's their-- probably that's the adjustment, I think, that we're going to see from them, if we don't see it right away, where they're just going to try to make it as impermeable as possible to get towards Andrei Vasilevskiy. And then they're going to hit back on the counterattack versus, well, two goaltenders who are not Igor Shesterkin. So I feel like park the bus is kind of what we're going to see.
Like, if you want to use soccer terms, like, it's like a team that's going to own all the possession. And then Tampa is going to sit back and try and wait for their opportunities. I can kind of just see what it's going to look like now. I kind of hope I'm wrong. But I feel like if John Cooper is, like, desperate, that's certainly what the series is going to look like.