Stanley Cup Playoffs Discussion: June 15

The Stanley Cup Final begins tonight

It’s finally here: the Stanley Cup Final kicks off Wednesday night between the Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning.

For the Avalanche, this is their first appearance in the Cup Final since 2001, and they’re hoping to repeat history from that year by winning it all. The road to the Final wasn’t without some adversity — especially when goalie Darcy Kuemper and second-line center Nazem Kadri were both injured in the Western Conference Final and — but they’ve been the best, most consistent team in the playoffs so far. With stars like Cale Makar and Nathan MacKinnon playing arguably the best hockey of their careers, it’s hard to bet against this Avalanche team.

For the Lightning, they will be looking for their third Stanley Cup win in as many years, hoping to achieve a feat that has eluded every other team in the cap era. With less depth this season, many weren’t sure Tampa Bay would make it so far — and they had a scare in the first round against the Toronto Maple Leafs — but their experience and dominance in net with Andrei Vasilevskiy proved to be enough to make it to the Final once again. It looks like they’ll be getting a boost in returning No. 1 center in Braydon Point who is expected to return for Game 1 — help the Lightning will definitely need to defeat a deep Avalanche team.

Wednesday, June 15

Game 1: Tampa Bay Lightning at Colorado avalanche, 7 p.m. (ESPN)

*All times Central