TAMPA — Cala Makar he said he appreciated winning the Norris Trophy, awarded annually to the NHL’s best defenseman, at the 2022 NHL Awards on Tuesday.
But winning the Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche remains the ultimate goal.
The Avalanche hold a 2-1 best-of-7 series lead against the Tampa Bay Lightning heading into Game 4 at Amalie Arena on Wednesday (8 pm ET; ABC, ESPN+, CBC, SN, TVAS).
“Obviously (I’m) very honored to be in the consideration for that award … but for me, I have to turn the page fast here and get ready for tomorrow,” Makar said Tuesday.
Video: Cala Makar wins Norris Trophy for best defenseman
The 23-year-old became the first defenseman in Colorado Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques history to win the Norris, selected by the Association of Professional Hockey Writers, with 1,631 points. josi roman of the Nashville Predators, who won in 2020, finished second in this year’s voting with 1,606 points. It was the closest race for the prize since erik karlsson he won it with the Ottawa Senators against Shea Weber (Predators) in 2012 (1,069-1,057).
Victor Hedman del Rayo, who won in 2018, finished third with 940 points.
Makar and Hedman meet in the Cup final. Hedman is trying to help Tampa Bay win a third straight championship.
“They are such amazing players,” Makar said. “They put a lot of pressure on me during the season, just as an individual on the ice. It’s amazing to go up against those guys. There’s a lot of credit to them in terms of the success I personally had this year.”
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Makar led defensemen during the regular season with 28 goals and was second to Josi in points (86) in 77 games to help Colorado (56-19-7) finish first in the Western Conference. He ranked second among defensemen with a 48-plus rating behind his teammate. Devon Toews (plus-52) and tied for first place with six game-winning goals.
Makar leads the Avalanche with 26 points (seven goals, 19 assists) in 17 Stanley Cup Playoff games. Colorado is 14-3 this postseason.
The Avalanche’s No. 4 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, Makar scored a goal in his debut, a 6-2 victory against the Calgary Flames in Game 3 of the Western Conference First Round on April 15, 2017. 2019. Colorado qualified for the playoffs in each of Makar’s first four seasons, and he said he learns a little more with each experience.
He has 57 points (14 goals, 43 assists) in 52 postseason games.
“I’m still pretty young, so to have this playoff experience at a young age is very exciting for me,” Makar said. “You just try to take it all in. At the end of the day, it’s one step at a time. Being able to experience what we have now as a team is only going to make us stronger in the future, regardless of what happens.” happens. But we’re focused on winning obviously at the moment.”
Makar has four points in the first three games of the Cup Final, including two assists in a 6-2 Game 3 loss here on Monday. The Avalanche are two wins away from their first Cup championship since 2001 after back-to-back wins at home to start the series.
“You can’t think about the future too much,” Makar said. “Obviously we still have a lot to do, but as a team, we’ve put ourselves in a great place right now. We just have to capitalize on that.”