It's strength on strength, power on power in the 2022 Stanley Cup Finals.
Game 1 is Wednesday night in in Denver.
Colorado has run to a 12-2 mark in this postseason, a perfect 7-0 on the road, while Tampa Bay is 12-5. The Lightning were down 3-2 to the Toronto Maple Leafs before rallying. They dropped the first two games in the Eastern Conference Finals to the New York Rangers before reeling off four straight victories.
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Goaltending will, as always, play a major role in deciding the next champion. Tampa Bay's Andrei Vasilevskiy has been stellar, with a 2.27 goals against average and a .928 save percentage. An injury to Colorado starter Darcy Kuemper (2.65 GAA, .897 SV%) forced backup Pavel Francouz (2.86 GAA, .906 SV%) into action. Kuemper says he will play in Game 1.
Both teams have the ability to score with aplomb. The Lightning's Nikita Kucherov leads active scorers in the playoffs with 23 points (seven goals, 16 assists). Ondrej Palat has come up big with 16 points (eight goals, eight assists). Steven Stamkos tallied nine goals and six assists.
The Avalanche have a bevy of options in Cale Makar (five goals, 17 assists), Nathan MacKinnon (11 goals, seven assists), Gabriel Landeskog (eight goals, nine assists) and Mikko Rantanen (five goals, 12 assists).
Will Tampa Bay become the first NHL team to win three consecutive Cups since the New York Islanders, who won four straight from 1980-1984? Or will Colorado claim its first chalice in 21 years?
FrontPageBets considers wagers of interest in the quest for Lord Stanley's trophy.
(Odds courtesy of DraftKings)
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Colorado Avalanche
When: Wednesday, 8 p.m.
Site: Ball Arena, Denver
Puck line: Colorado -1.5 (+160); Tampa Bay +1.5 (-190)
Money line: Colorado -160; Tampa Bay +140
Total: Over 6 (-110); Under 6 (-110)
The pick: Colorado, 3-2
Odds to win series: Colorado (-175); Tampa Bay +150
Series pick: Colorado in six games
Gerry Ahern is senior content editor for FrontPageBets. A 35-year veteran sports editor and digital media executive, he has led coverage of the biggest events in sports, from Super Bowls, to Final Fours, to Olympics, to the Masters.