Stanley Cup Final: What will Colorado Avalanche do with the puck in Game 2?

“We dissect the game by zones, by special teams, by breakouts, by forecheck,” Cooper said. “There’s so many different things that go in.”

Due to an unfamiliarity with an opponent from the opposite conference, starting a Finals is more of a learning curve than a series earlier in the playoffs, and it took experiencing Colorado’s pace for Tampa Bay — and getting nervous at times, to know exactly what they were doing expected.

“You can never really understand it until you feel it in the first game,” said forward Nick Paul on Friday. “They definitely have speed throughout their lineup, and they love to charge and chase. They read well when they’re trying to throw pucks or when they’re trying to carry them, so you have to constantly push yourself to have a good gap to force them to get the puck out of their hands.

What to do with the puck was a big focus for each team during Friday practice. After star defenseman Cale Makar failed to score in all playoffs for the first time despite being one of the NHL’s best, the Avalanche must find a way to put more rubber on Tampa Bay goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy.

They expected the Lightning to block a lot of shots and they did it by going ahead of 25 in Game 1. There will be some adjustments, but don’t expect Colorado players to hesitate when shooting.

“You still have to throw it there,” said defense attorney Josh Manson. “You don’t want to just hold on to it and try to find the perfect trajectory. So, I think we just have to do this: keep moving our feet and throw it there.

Getting the puck out of their defending zone is paramount for the Lightning, as they know what can happen when the Avalanche attack. A key focus of the coaching staff is to put speed bumps in the way, but without taking an unnecessary interference penalty.

“The biggest thing is to make sure that whether it’s a hard hit, whether it’s a shove, you’re laying down and getting up because they’re changing so quickly,” Paul said. “You just do readings, stay above the boys and try to force sales.”

Each side focuses on reducing errors.

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