ヴァレリー・ニチュシュキンがスタンレーカップファイナルでライトニングに対してスターになりつつある

“Oviが勝ったときに見るのは楽しかったです, 特に彼が祝ったとき,” 彼は言った. “それが一番良かったと思います。”

ニチュシュキンにとってより良いことの1つは、ホッケーの聖杯を自分で持ち上げることです。.

I hope so,” 彼は言った. “わかります。”

その他のスポーツ報道については、ここをクリックしてください .

Colorado Avalanche right wing Valeri Nichushkin (13) celebrates his goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning with right wing Mikko Rantanen (96) defenseman Josh Manson (42) and defenseman Bowen Byram (4) during the second period in Game 2 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final, 土曜日, 六月 18, 2022, デンバーで.

Colorado Avalanche right wing Valeri Nichushkin (13) celebrates his goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning with right wing Mikko Rantanen (96) defenseman Josh Manson (42) and defenseman Bowen Byram (4) during the second period in Game 2 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final, 土曜日, 六月 18, 2022, デンバーで. (AP写真/ DavidZalubowski)

Nichushkin and the Colorado Avalanche are two wins away from doing just that, and the big Russian winger is a big reason why they’ll take a 2-1 lead over the back-to-back defending Stanley Cup champion タンパベイライトニング into Game 4 水曜日に. He was tied for the team lead in goals with three, set up Andre Burakovsky for his overtime winner in the series opener and scored in Game 3 before it was called back for an oh-so-close offside.

He has consistently been the best player on the ice in the final, hounding the puck, forcing turnovers and creating offense.

He’s built for this time of year,” coach Jared Bednar said. “大きい, 長いです, 私の心をポンプポンプで動かす男と少年のために。, 速い, tenacious, 空腹, relentless on the puck, finishing off the chances he gets. He can play with top guys. You can move him up and down the lineup, plays power play, penalty kill. というのは, I don’t know what else to say about the guy.

Nichushkin, who hasn’t spoken to reporters since the series began, has been a pest on defense, as usual, but has added some offense that was missing for much of his playoff career in the NHL.

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Colorado Avalanche right wing Valeri Nichushkin (13) celebrates his goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning with right wing Mikko Rantanen (96) defenseman Josh Manson (42) and defenseman Bowen Byram (4) during the second period in Game 2 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final, 土曜日, 六月 18, 2022, デンバーで.

Colorado Avalanche right wing Valeri Nichushkin (13) celebrates his goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning with right wing Mikko Rantanen (96) defenseman Josh Manson (42) and defenseman Bowen Byram (4) during the second period in Game 2 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final, 土曜日, 六月 18, 2022, デンバーで. (AP写真/ DavidZalubowski)

Over his first 28 postseason games with the ダラススターズ and Avalanche, Nichushkin had just one goal and two assists. That included a 25-game goal drought.

This postseason, he is among Colorado’s goal-scoring leaders with eight, trailing just Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog. Nichushkin has received Selke Trophy votes for the league’s top defensive forward each of the past three seasons, but this offensive evolution is a development even his coach didn’t see coming.

I’m a little bit surprised at where he’s gotten to with his game,” Bednar said before describing why he perhaps shouldn’t be so surprised. “I’ll be cutting video after a game, trying to get some work done to lighten the load for the next morning and I’ll be the last one there, the trainers are leaving and I’ll be walking out of the room and I’ll see Val walk out of the room. He’s just getting done lifting. That’s just the type of guy he is.

That strength has been obvious on the ice early in the final, outmuscling Lightning players to get to quality scoring areas and winning board battles to get the puck back.

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Defenseman Josh Manson remembers playing against Nichushkin while with Anaheim and just how much of a struggle he was to deal with.

It feels like he’s way more consistent with it now,” Manson said. “He fits in the structure so well. He forechecks so hard. He’s such a big, strong guy. He’s lanky and he just constantly puts you under pressure and he’s strong enough to turn the puck over.

So strong teammate J.T. Compher referred to Nichushkin asa horse.Physically, はい, but he has also shown smarts, like shaking free of a defender to be in place for his power-play goal that jumpstarted a 7-0 rout in Game 2.

Colorado Avalanche right wing Valeri Nichushkin celebrates his goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period in Game 2 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final, 土曜日, 六月 18, 2022, デンバーで.

Colorado Avalanche right wing Valeri Nichushkin celebrates his goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period in Game 2 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final, 土曜日, 六月 18, 2022, デンバーで. (AP写真/ジョンロッチャー)

In a lot of ways, Nichushkin fit the bill for what Colorado was looking for to augment the flashy skill of MacKinnon, Landeskog, Mikko Rantanen and Cale Makar. His offense is almost a bonus after all he has done for the Avalanche in three seasons.

The system that we play, what we sort of demand of our players on the defensive side of it, is a huge strength of Val’s,” Bednar said. “And he’s obviously a big, 長いです, strong guy that can skate and sort of fits our mold playing a high-pace, north game and the battles, the races that he can win, I think it just kind of fits his style. He’s found his place here.

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