Colorado’s MacKinnon and Johnson react to drought-breaking

Although it experienced been additional than two many years due to the fact the Colorado Avalanche gained a Stanley Cup, the previous 3 several years experienced been notably hard, but star Nathan MacKinnon stated his facet “never ever stopped believing”.

3 consecutive exits in the Western Meeting semi-finals saddled the Avalanche with one of the most dreaded of labels – a team that couldn’t translate normal-season achievements into postseason glory.

That myth has now been busted, and then some, pursuing Colorado’s 2-1 victory in excess of the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 of this year’s Stanley Cup Final, a earn which capped one particular of the far more dominant playoff operates in latest memory.

Colorado finished this postseason with a 16-4 file, tied for the second-maximum profitable proportion of any team considering that the NHL adopted a best-of-seven format for all four rounds in 1986-87. Only the Wayne Gretzky-led Edmonton Oilers of 1986-87, who went 16-2, have produced a far better mark.

“Some hard years combined in there, but it’s all above now,” MacKinnon mentioned just after registering a target and an assist in Sunday’s clincher. “We under no circumstances stopped believing.”

That by no means-say-die mind-set was evident in Sport 6, in which Colorado erased an early 1- deficit towards the two-time defending champion Lightning, and all over this title run. Sunday’s get was the Avalanche’s 10th occur-from-at the rear of victory of these playoffs, tying the 2008-09 Pittsburgh Penguins for the most in a single postseason.

“If you encompass your self with good persons, you can complete fantastic things,” defenseman Erik Johnson reported, the Avalanche’s longest-tenured participant who hoisted the Cup for the initially time in 14 NHL seasons – 12 of which have been put in in Denver.

The Avalanche appeared primed for greatness all through the pandemic-shortened 2020-21 campaign, in which they developed 82 details in 56 online games to gain the Presidents’ Trophy. But a second-straight 2nd-round flameout as a larger-seeded group left several questioning whether one particular of the league’s most proficient teams could flip opportunity into generation when it mattered most.

Final year’s playoff decline to the Vegas Golden Knights served as a consistent motivating power for this season’s squad, which dominated the Western Meeting with 119 standard-period points just before this excellent playoff surge.

“Our group, ever because previous 12 months, we understood coming into teaching camp that they were being fully commited,” Avalanche vice president of hockey functions Joe Sakic reported.

“Very little phased them this year – they ended up geared up just about every working day to get far better. The coaches had them prepared, and each participant acquired in.”

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