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How will the Avalanche match up against the Eastern Conference Champions?

We know the Colorado Avalanche will represent the Western Conference in the Stanley Cup Final but how do they compare against their possible opponents?
Credit: AP
Colorado Avalanche celebrate a goal against the Edmonton Oilers during third period NHL hockey conference finals action in Edmonton, Alberta, on Monday, June 6, 2022. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

DENVER — The Colorado Avalanche are the 2022 Western Conference Champions and set to compete for the Stanley Cup. This is the franchise's first Stanley Cup appearance since 2001.

Who Colorado will play, however, has not been determined. The Avalanche will host games 1 and 2 at Ball Arena against either the New York Rangers or the Tampa Bay Lightning.

>Video above is from the Locked On Avalanche Podcast.

The question for Avalanche fans is how does their team match up against the teams in the east?

RELATED: Avalanche fans snap up championship gear as stores open early

New York Rangers (2nd in Metropolitan)

New York's success has been in large part to their goaltender Igor Shesterkin. Shesterkin leads all remaining goaltenders in the 2022 playoffs with a .930 save percentage. 

The Rangers have played more games than any other team in the playoffs. In the first two rounds, the Rangers had to force a Game 7 after going down in both series.

New York also has the two top-scoring players left in the playoffs, Mika Zivanejad, with 24 points, and Adam Fox with 23. By comparison, Colorado's top two point-getters are Cale Makar (22) and Nathan MacKinnon (18).

During the regular season, Colorado faced the Rangers twice, winning both games. The Avalanche scored 11 goals in those two games while allowing only 5 goals.

In those two meetings, neither Colorado Goalie Pavel Francouz nor Shesterkin played. The two teams have not played each other since Dec. 14, 2021.

Tampa Bay Lightning (3rd in Atlantic)

The Tampa Bay Lightning are hoping to earn their third straight Stanley Cup. The Lightning finished the regular season as the third seed in the Atlantic Division with 110 points.

Tampa Bay beat Toronto in seven games in the first round, then swept the President's Trophy-winning Florida Panthers in the second round. Going into game 4, the Lightning are down in the Eastern Conference final 2-1.

Right winger Nikita Kucherov leads the Lighting in the postseason with 20 points, followed by 2018 James Norris Memorial Trophy winner and five-time finalist Victor Hedmen with 13 points. Two-time Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy winner Steven Stamkos is third on the team with 12 points.

Like the Rangers, Colorado played Tampa Bay twice during the regular season. The Avalanche won both of those contests as well. Colorado outscored Tampa Bay 7-5 and last played the Lightning on Feb. 10.

RELATED: Colorado Avalanche advance to Stanley Cup Final for 1st time in 21 years


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