Tampa Bay Lightning won another Stanley Cup title, taking down the Montreal Canadiens in the finals after five games.
Jon Cooper’s side was better than the Canadiens this Wednesday night, posting a minimal but extremely valuable 1-0 victory. It would provide their fans at Amalie Arena a fantastic celebration, the one they didn’t have a chance to have in 2020 once their favorites lifted the title as well.
“We didn’t get a chance to do that last year,” Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay’s captain, said about the win. “This is redemption for them to be able to spend this time with us.”
The only scorer of the match was Ross Colton with 13:27 inside the second period. Tampa Bay’s rookie tapped in a pass coming from David Savard, sealing the win and his first major accomplishment in the NHL. Unlike the majority of the players in the team, he and Savard weren’t present the last year once Tampa won the trophy as well.
The Lightning’s back-to-back titles are just the ninth time in the NHL history for one team to have such an achievement. Pittsburgh Penguins were the last franchise to do so back in 2017.
Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay’s goaltender, was named the postseason MVP, receiving Conn Smythe Trophy. Wednesday’s shutout was the fifth one during this playoff run for the Russian, which is the main reason he won the award before Nikita Kucherov.
“Just to have five shutouts in one playoff, it’s all about team for sure. We were able to shut down the teams four times in a row in clinching games, just amazing,” Vasilevskiy stated.
Kucherov had 32 points throughout the postseason, tying himself with Mario Lemieux and becoming the second player to lead in playoff scoring for two years in a row.
He is the pivotal player of this unit and the guy who promised two years ago that the team would win the trophy and recover from a nasty defeat suffered back then. Just to remind, the Lightning was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs to Columbus Blue Jackets in four games, even though having one of the best regular seasons ever.
But instead of falling apart and drowning in despair, the Lightning came back even stronger, winning the 2020 Stanley Cup in the bubble. They would defend the title now and finally celebrate it with their fans.
Nikita Kucherov with epic talk on Andrei Vasilevskiy being MVP pic.twitter.com/JfP2XV9Rif
— Joe Smith (@JoeSmithTB) July 8, 2021
On the other side, Montreal was in the finals for the first time since 1993. The Habs defeated LA Kings in that series, winning their last Stanely Cup trophy, which was also the last time one team from Canada ruled the NHL.
They weren’t up to the task in this year’s finals, having no chance at all to stop the fired-up crew from Florida.
“I’m proud of this group,” said Canadiens coach Dominique Ducharme. “We grew as a team a lot. We’ve got to use that the right way, and we want to make it back here with a different result.”
The Canadiens eliminated the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Winnipeg Jets, and the Vegas Golden Knights on their way up to here. This team has a lot of potential but will need to upgrade its game to win the title next year, especially in defense.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.