Stanley Cup: Avalanche braced for Lightning's best in Game 2

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The Colorado Avalanche were betting favourites headed into the Stanley Cup Final against the two-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning, and a 4-3 overtime win in Game 1 only strengthened their position.

Even at home, the Avs are not counting on Wednesday's win carrying over to Saturday's Game 2.

Colorado coach Jared Bednar indicated as much in the build-up to the clash at Ball Arena.

"I would say in this situation, I don't believe a lot in [momentum]," Bednar said. "Like, it's Stanley Cup Finals. We know we're going to see Tampa's best game. They'll be better than they were in Game 1."

The Avalanche got off to a hot start on Wednesday, holding leads of 2-0 and 3-1, but the Lightning weathered the storm and rallied to force overtime - a point not lost on Bednar.

"There are a lot of areas, for me, that we can be a lot better than we were in Game 1," the sixth-year coach said. "We approach it the same way we did in Game 1.

"I expect our guys to be energised and ready to go. It's an extra day's rest, they'll be the same way. It'll be about the detail in our game and how hard we can compete. The last part of that is the execution."

Despite the Lightning holding the advantage in playoff pedigree and experience, Bednar was proud of his young team for responding on hockey's biggest stage.

"Honestly, I feel like our team has kind of been there all along. I never felt that the moment was going to be too big for us, coming into this thing," Bednar said.

"Right from the finish of the Edmonton series, our guys, we told them to enjoy it for a couple of days, get away, but if you talk to any of our individuals, they'll say the same thing: 'Job's not done.'

"We've got a lot of work to do. It's going to be a tough series, and I feel like we've been focused on that. I don't think anyone's patting themselves on the back for being here. It's not the type of mentality we've had from day one of training camp."

The Lightning and coach Jon Cooper, meanwhile, are not panicking after dropping Game 1 and would be content to return to Tampa Bay with the series tied headed into Monday's Game 3.

"It's about winning the series, it's not about winning Game 1," Cooper said. "Yeah, would we like to win every single game? There's no question. But we've also started out on the road for all four series, so the fact that we've won one of them is kind of a bonus on our side. But it's about winning the series."

The Lightning are in familiar territory, needing to battle back for a series win. Tampa Bay dropped Game 1 of the 2020 Stanley Cup Final before rallying to beat the Dallas Stars in six games.

This year's squad overcame Game 1 losses to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round and the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference final.

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