AVALANCHE

For the first time since Stanley Cup Final, Avalanche top Lightning

Nov 27, 2023, 9:42 PM

That winning feeling for the Colorado Avalanche against the Tampa Bay Lightning is back.

And it happened for the first time since the 2022 Stanley Cup Final.

The Avs topped the Lightning on Monday night at Ball Arena by a final score of 4-1. It’s the first time Colorado’s beaten Tampa Bay since June of 2022, as a 2-1 victory helped bring the best trophy in sports back to Denver.

Last season, the Avalanche lost 5-0 and 4-3 in their only two rematches.

This time around, it was a new guy in Ryan Johansen playing hero. Colorado’s second-line center scored two goals, his eighth and ninth of the year to give the Avs a 2-0 lead. Superstar defenseman Cale Makar added the team’s third and Colorado rolled to an easy win to move to 15-6-0. It’s their fourth-straight victory and seventh in the last eight games.

For the Avalanche, there’s been plenty of roster turnover since winning their third title, but the core remains. Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Makar are hunting yet another ring, while head coach Jared Bednar wants his second in three years.

Ross Colton played with the Lightning in the Final 17 months ago, but is now a member of the Avs after an offseason trade. He didn’t hit the twine on Monday, but still has seven goals on the young season.

While some of the juice might be gone from a championship matchup that happened two summers ago, these are still a couple of contenders.

We’ll see if yet another meeting is in store come June, but for now, the Avalanche showed they’re still maybe the best team in the NHL.

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