On Saturday night, hockey fans who turned in to watch Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final were witnesses to one of the worst blowouts in Stanley Cup Final history. The Colorado Avalanche completely dominated the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Tampa Bay Lightning, from start to finish, controlling the pace of the game throughout the full 60 minutes and eventually walking away with an incredible 7 - 0 victory.
As great of a moment as it was for the Avalanche in front of their home crowd though, it was a terrible performance from the Lightning who seemed uncharacteristically lost throughout the course of the game. Things were so bad in fact that during a break in the action, former National Hockey League captain Mark Messier took the Lightning to task for what he clearly seemed to think was unacceptable play from the defending champions.
"I completely agree," said Messier. "Colorado has completely dominated in every aspect, every measurable aspect of the game. But Tampa has got to remember that this could potentially be a 7 game series, everything matters. You can't slump your shoulders changing. The body language isn't there for Tampa Bay right now, that's gotta change. They gotta start to fight back in any way they can."
Messier of course knows exactly what he's talking about here and has personally experienced being down in a big series only to rally back and win from behind. Messier is also regarded as one of the greatest leader's in the history of the game, so when he makes comments of this nature people tend to take notice.
This definitely did not come off as Messier kicking the Lightning when they are down, but instead sounded like Messier was attempting to motivate the defending Stanley Cup champions. That being said it's going to take a lot more than some words from an NHL legend to get the Lightning back in this series.
The Avalanche had 7 of 8 high danger chances in Game 2, 21 of 27 scoring chances, and had nearly an 83% expected goals share over the course of the game.