The Colorado Avalanche won their first Stanley Cup in more than two decades on Sunday (June 26) with a series-clinching 3-2 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida.
The victory came hours after the Avalanche called a players-only meeting the night before after the Lightning took Game 5 in Denver.
"We knew the job that we had to do," said Cale Makar, who was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy, given to the most valuable player of the NHL postseason, via ESPN. "But we needed to just talk about staying mentally locked in and not looking too far ahead. It was [Andrew Cogliano] and [Gabriel Landeskog] and [Nathan MacKinnon] speaking and basically just calming the guys down and making sure that regardless of the outcome, just put it all out there and see where the game lies, and that's kind of where our minds were at.
"I felt like throughout this whole game, our mentality was just win that period and win the next one, get the next shift and so on, and we were never looking too far ahead to the to the outcome -- and we definitely feel like we earned that one."
The Avalanche rallied back from an early one-goal deficit with two second period goals by Nathan MacKinnon (13) and Artturi Lehoken (8), with both teams held scoreless in the third.
Makar finished the postseason with eight goals and 29 points in 20 games, having also won the Norris Trophy last week, becoming just the third defenseman to win both the Norris and Conn Smythe awards during the same season, as well as the first unanimous Conn Smythe winner during the five years since the Professional Hockey Writers Association started tracking votes.
The Avalanche's last Stanley Cup came during the 2001 postseason when Colorado defeated the New Jersey Devils, 3-1, in Game 7 of the Finals.
The Lightning had previously won the Stanley Cup during each of the past two seasons.