After beating the Montreal Canadiens 1-0 in Game 5 on Wednesday night, the Tampa Bay Lightning are one Stanley Cup winner after another.
They joined the 2016–17 Pittsburgh Penguins as the second club to repeat the salary cap era, although some pieces of the team may look different next season due to salary cap concerns.
The Lightning will still have a top scorer in Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point and Steven Stamkos, as well as a top defenseman in Viktor Heidman and a formidable goalkeeper in Andrei Vasilevsky.
“We’ve been banging on the door for so many years, and now being able to complete it back-to-back makes this group exceptionally strong,” said Lightning coach John Cooper.
Wasilewski made another impressive comeback attempt after the loss, this time with a 22-save shutout to give City their third title in less than a year. In February, the Buccaneers won the Super Bowl.
With his sixth shutout, Wasilewski earned the Conn Smith Trophy as MVP after the season. He has knocked out five consecutive series winners including the 2020 Stanley Cup final.
“I still can’t believe it,” he said. “Obviously, the whole team deserves it.” A post-season series requires a team to have five shutouts. “
Last year, the Lightning won the 2020 Stanley Cup in a bubble atmosphere in Edmonton, but this time they were able to celebrate in front of their home crowd at Amalie Arena. Since the Chicago Blackhawks completed it in 2015 against Tampa Bay, the Lightning became the first NHL club to win the Stanley Cup at home.
“We definitely wanted to take this opportunity in front of the crowd, in front of our families,” said defender Ryan McDonagh. “It’s a wonderful feeling.” We’re going to party all night.”
The Lightning’s championship team in 2020 was without Ross Colton and defender David Savard.
However, he tied for the only goal of the game at 13:27 of the second period.
Savard received a feed from McDonagh, went into the right faceoff circle, and delivered a pass out in front of Colton, who passed Carrie Price of Montreal.
Colton’s goal was his fourth goal in the playoffs. Following an injury to Alex Kilorn, he was promoted to the second line.
When the Lightning began its run last season, Colton was playing in the American Hockey League. Electricity general manager Julian Brycebois used some sensible pay caps to acquire Savard from the Columbus Blue Jackets on the deadline.
Thanks to Vasilevsky’s efforts, the Lightning did not lose back-to-back games for two consecutive seasons. After the loss it was 7-0 last season and 7-0 this season.
In Game 5, Lightning put up an excellent defense in front of them, but they held off Montreal’s pressure until Colton’s goal.
In the third period, he also stopped Montreal’s Josh Anderson and saved an interceptor on Brendan Gallagher.
“I can’t believe how he closes the doors to the biggest games of his career,” Cooper said. “When he goes into it, it’s incredible to see.”
In front of Vasilevsky, Lightning also blocked nine shots. Barkley Goodrow got three, including a giant in the third period on Canadiens’ hard-shooting captain Shea Webber.
“That includes everything we do with our squad,” Cooper said.
Maroon makes it three
Pat Maroon of the Lightning won his third Stanley Cup in a row, including the 2019 edition with the St Louis Blues.
Since Ed Litzenberger accomplished it with Chicago in 1961 and Toronto in 1962-64, he is the only individual to win three straight Cups with separate clubs.
Because of the epidemic, the Lightning were unable to win the Stanley Cup last year.
“What we’re hoping for is two days with the Cup, back-to-back days,” Maroon said. “We missed our day last year, so NHL, wake up.”