We've been down this 0-2 playoff path before with the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Lightning and recently, too. Tampa Bay came back from a 2-0 playoff deficit against the Rangers in their last series to reach the Stanley Cup Finals.
I'm not blind, though. The Avalanche are the strongest opponent Tampa Bay has faced during its three-year Cup run. The Lightning nearly pulled out Game 1 in Colorado, losing in overtime. But the Avalanche dominated at home, especially in their 7-0 Game 2 victory over Tampa Bay this past Saturday looking faster, hungrier and more disciplined than the Lightning.
It was a humbling beatdown of the Lightning that's for sure.
But I'm not going to ignore, nor discount, the Lightnings' playoff pedigree, goalie edge with Andrei Vasilevskiy and heart. Tampa Bay has always been resilient and able to make the necessary adjustments. The Lightning's 18-2 playoff record following a loss is proof of that. Tampa Bay has won 40 of its last 55 home games, including going 7-1 in this season's Stanley Cup games.
The Avalanche is as good as advertised. However, I don't see the Lightning getting swept. They are at home now. Their season and pride are on the line. They've come through before. It's not a leap of faith to back them in Game 3.
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