Valeri Nichushkin is about to get paid, kids. Big-time.


Analysis from the Avs’ 7-0 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday at Ball Arena:

Valeri Nichushkin, RW, Avalanche — Chu-ching! Every time Big Val Nichushkin scores in a Cup Final, does a cash register bell go off on his agent’s cellphone? The Avs’ right winger is up to eight goals for this playoff run, and three in the first two games of this series, after his silky wrister gave Colorado a giddy 4-0 lead. Nichushkin is on the final year of a two-year, $5 million deal worth a reported $2.5 million annually. If this keeps up, he’ll probably double that salary on the open market.

Andre Burakovsky, LW, Avalanche — Speaking of getting paid, Burakovsky’s also coming to the end of a contract year, and coming to it blazing hot. The Avs winger essentially put the game to bed with 6:08 left in the first period by slotting a rebound past Tampa Bay goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy to push Colorado’s lead to 3-0. It also accounted for Burky’s third point over the first two games of the series.

Cale Makar, D, Avalanche Welcome to the party, No. 8. The best defenseman on the planet but a bow on one of the most fun nights ever at Ball Arena with two third-period goals, both on special teams. Makar beat the Lightning down the ice for a short-handed score roughly two minutes into the stanza, then added salt to Tampa Bay’s wounds with a power-play wrister seven minutes and 45 seconds later to put the hosts up 7-0.


Stanley Cup Final Game 2 Quoteboard

Darren Helm, Avs

“We played a pretty good game tonight…We just have to keep our foot on the gas… We know we have a big job to do in Tampa.

“We are definitely going to try to keep our momentum going into Game 3. We are going to have confidence. We know it’s going to be tougher when Tampa is at home so we look forward to the challenge and moving forward.”

Josh Manson, Avs

“The (Colorado) forwards have been doing such a good job forcing hurried plays and putting them under pressure…(Tampa Bay) is a championship-level team. I don’t think they get frustrated, they are patient and will adjust.”

Jon Cooper, Tampa Bay coach

“They are playing at an elite level right now and we are not….The game got away from us early. There’s no question that tonight was disappointing.”

Victor Hedman, Lightning

“Can’t get down. Gotta see it as an opportunity.” … “We can’t rely on past experiences.”

Ryan McDonagh, Lightning

“I think the biggest thing for our group is just keeping our discipline, not just necessarily saying penalties. It’s discipline playing within our structure. …”

“We can’t just rely on going back to home ice and think it’s going to happen easily. We’ve gotta look at ourselves in the mirror. …”


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