Colorado Avalanche dominate Tampa Bay Lightning, take 2-0 lead in Stanley Cup Final

Less than hours before the puck dropped on Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final, Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper said he didn’t know what was ahead, 

but that he was confident his team would play “a heck of a lot better” than it did early in Wednesday’s Game 1 loss.

Instead, it got worse for the two-time defending champions. And now they find themselves on the ropes again.

Colorado stormed out to a 3-0 lead in the opening 13 minutes, 52 seconds, dominated the entire way and polished off a powerful opening stanza of the series on home ice with a 7-0 victory Saturday night at Ball Arena.

Game 3 is Monday at Tampa (8 p.m. ET, ABC). Valeri Nichushkin continued his sterling series with a pair of goals – he opened the scoring on a power play conversion in the first three minutes – 

and an assist and star defenseman Cale Makar added a power-play goal and short-handed goal in the third period for good measure.

Winger Andre Burakovsky tallied a goal and two assists for the Avalanche, who are now within two victories of their first Stanley Cup title in 21 years.

The high-flying Colorado offense, which had scored 69 goals over its first 15 postseason games, left no room for the drama that ensued Wednesday night in Game 1 when it surrendered a two-goal lead before topping Tampa Bay 1:23 into overtime.

On this night, the Avalanche rolled to a 23-12 shots advantage over the first two periods, proved more than up to the task of topping the outstanding Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy and outclassed the two-time defending champions across the board.

The Avalanche have now won seven consecutive postseason games and haven’t lost since Game 5 of the second round against the St. Louis Blues on May 25. They are 14-2 overall this postseason.