Colorado has the lead, but the Lightning have Andrei Vasilevskiy

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For the third time this postseason, and only the fourth time in their last three postseasons, the Tampa Bay Lightning are facing elimination. Down 3-1 in the Stanley Cup Final to the Colorado Avalanche they have slid down to the end of their rope and are hanging on by their fingernails.

There is now no more room for error. The team that has found a way all season long has to do it again. They may be tired, they may be hurting, but they are still breathing, and that’s enough to get things started. The trick will be to outwork, out-chance, and outlast the Avalanche, a franchise itching to complete their own journey from the bottom.

It does seem that Colorado has received the lion’s share of the breaks in the series, but as usual, the team that puts themselves in the best position usually “gets” the most luck. The Lightning are going to need to take more chances in order to generate their own bounces. Lucky for them they have Andrei Vasilevskiy ready to cover up their mistakes. He’s been pretty good during this run when the Bolts have needed him.

2021 – Game 7 – New York Islanders:

0 goals allowed, 21 saves, 100% first save on an expected 93.11% first save, 2.14 goals saved above expected

2022 – Game 6 – Toronto Maple Leafs:

3 goals allowed, 33 saves, 93.88% first save on an expected 93.91% first save, -0.01 goals saved above expected

2022 – Game 7 – Toronto Maple Leafs:

2 goals allowed, 31 saves, 97.92% first save on an expected 92.87% first save, 2.42 goals saved above expected.