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Stanley Cup Playoff Power Rankings: The Stanley Cup Final

Jesse Montano Avatar
June 15, 2022

Here we go, the Stanley Cup Final. Down to the last two teams remaining, and we have what is, in my opinion, the best Final matchup you could’ve hoped for at the start of the season. A team looking to win their third Championship in a row, and a team who has been knocking on the door of greatness trying to win their franchise’s first Cup in over 20 years. 

This should be a series for the ages. 

1. Tampa Bay Lightning (Round 3 Series Win: 4-3)

3rd Round Rank: 1

I’ve had the Lightning ranked #1 heading into the playoffs. When you’re the two-time defending champ, you are the best team in the league until somebody proves that you aren’t. Thus far, no-one has been able to get the better of the Lightning. 

11 consecutive series wins, and a third straight trip to the Stanley Cup Final. An incredible feat. I’ve been even more impressed by this Tampa Bay group over the last 24 hours after getting an up-close look at them during the SCF media day. There’s even just a calming presence that surrounds them. Very, “been there, done that”. I keep referencing the fact that nothing seems to rattle them or shake their confidence, and they proved that again by digging out of a 2-0 hole against the New York Rangers and winning four straight to punch their ticket to the Final. 

They will face their toughest opponent so far on any of these Cup runs in the Colorado Avalanche, but I will repeat it again… they are the best until somebody takes that title from them. 

2. Colorado Avalanche (Round 3 Series Win 4-0)

3rd Round Rank: 2

What a run this has been for the Avalanche, but they have made it abundantly clear that they aren’t just happy to be here. The Avs are here to win, that’s it. 

There aren’t really any teams who can match the Lightning in terms of the way they manage their emotions within a game or series, but if there is one who can sneak into that conversation… it’s Colorado. 

I mentioned ahead of the Conference Finals that the Avalanche have shown a different level of mental toughness throughout these playoffs. Putting teams down, then not letting them up off the mat. While this is the first Cup Final for this core, the Avalanche have plenty of experience in big moments and truly look prepared for this moment. 

Consistency has been the name of the game in the playoffs for the Avs, regardless of what other teams are doing, or what is happening within a game, they have maybe been the best team at just continuing to play the way they are comfortable playing, and they will have to embrace that to the fullest against the back-to-back champs. 

Colorado has been building towards this moment for years, all season long they talked about this being the ultimate goal and brushed off any notion that something else could be more important. This is it for them, this is what they have built towards, and now they get the opportunity to take it.

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