Avalanche ready to end Lightning’s Stanley Cup run: ‘You want to beat the best to be the best’

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Cale Makar and the rest of the Colorado Avalanche will have the tall task of ending the Tampa Bay Lightning’s string of Stanley Cup championships.

Makar, the 2020 Calder Memorial Trophy winner, has been one of the top players for Colorado during their run through the playoffs. In 14 games, he scored five goals and racked up 17 assists. He’s among the leaders in points (22) of those players who are still left in the postseason.

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Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar following his goal against the Edmonton Oilers during the Western Conference Final at Ball Arena on May 31, 2022, in Denver.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar following his goal against the Edmonton Oilers during the Western Conference Final at Ball Arena on May 31, 2022, in Denver. (Ron Chenoy-USA Today Sports)

Makar said he knows what he and the team are up against in the Lightning.

“They’re a team that’s looking to become a dynasty and we’re a team that’s looking to start a legacy. It’s an exciting series and you can’t ask for any better. Obviously, you want to beat the best to be the best,” Makar said, via NHL.com.

STANLEY CUP FINAL 2022 PREVIEW: LIGHTNING LOOK TO MAKE HISTORY WITH THREE-PEAT, AVALANCHE SEEK TO END DROUGHT

Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar controls the puck against Edmonton Oilers' Evander Kane during the Stanley Cup playoffs at Ball Arena on June 2, 2022, in Denver, Colorado.

Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar controls the puck against Edmonton Oilers’ Evander Kane during the Stanley Cup playoffs at Ball Arena on June 2, 2022, in Denver, Colorado. (Isaiah J. Downing-USA Today Sports)

It’s been about two decades since the Avalanche won the Stanley Cup. Colorado finished the regular season with 119 points – the most in franchise history. The team had more points than when they lost won the Cup in 2001. They finished with 118 points that year.

But to be the best, the Avalanche will have to beat the best. And while the Lightning didn’t win the Presidents’ Cup this year as the league’s top team, they are coming off two consecutive Stanley Cup championships. Nathan MacKinnon recognizes that.

“I’m glad we’re playing Tampa, we are playing the best,” MacKinnon said. “It’s no Cinderella story. It’s two of the best teams in the league going at it and we’re really excited for this challenge. It’s going to be very, very difficult. But I believe in this group and we believe in each other.”

Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche skates during the Stanley Cup playoffs against the Oilers on June 6, 2022, at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta.

Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche skates during the Stanley Cup playoffs against the Oilers on June 6, 2022, at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta. (Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

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The puck will drop at 8 p.m. ET in Denver to begin Game 1 on Wednesday.

Ryan Gaydos is the sports editor for Fox News and Fox Business. Story tips can be sent to [email protected]

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