NHL

Lightning win second-consecutive Stanley Cup

The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Montreal Canadiens in game five of the league final to win back-to-back Stanley Cups.

Tampa Bay Lightning win second-consecutive Stanley Cup

Rookie Ross Colton scored the game’s only goal as the Tampa Bay Lightning secured a 4-1 series win over the Montreal Canadiens, and their second-straight Stanley Cup. Colton was able to finish on a cross-ice pass from David Savard with 6:33 remaining in the second period, and that would prove to be enough in this one, as they picked up the championship-clinching victory.

Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy picked up the shutout, stopping all 22 of the Canadiens’ shots. Carey Price was excellent for Montreal as well, stopping all but one of the 30 shots he faced.

MVP: Vasilevskiy

The Lightning became the league’s first back-to-back cup winners since the Pittsburgh Penguins who did it in 2016 and 2017. Tampa Bay took down the Dallas Stars in six games in last season’s ‘bubble’ final.

Vasilevskiy earned the Conn Smyth Award which is given to the most valuable player in the NHL playoffs. The 26-year-old went 16-7, playing all 23 games for Tampa Bay this postseason, recording five shutouts, posting a goals against average of 1.90 and a save percentage of .937.

Nikita Kucherov won the playoff scoring race, finishing with 32 points in 23 games. The top five point-getters in this postseason were all members of the Lightning.

Tampa’s road to the Stanley Cup featured the Florida Panthers in the first round, the Carolina Hurricanes in the second, the New York Islanders in the league semis, and finally the Habs in the final. They eliminated the Panthers and Hurricanes in six and five games respectively: two of the best teams in the NHL over the course of the regular season. The Islanders, one of this postseason’s big surprises, managed to push the highly favored Lighting to a seventh game, but Tampa would pick up another 1-0 victory in game seven and punch their ticket to the Stanley Cup Final for the second-straight year. Tampa quickly built a 3-0 series lead over the Canadiens to begin the cup final before the Canadiens finally pushed back with a 3-2 overtime win in Montreal. Tampa would complete the ‘gentleman’s sweep’ in game five with the home victory.

Montreal’s storybook playoff run is now over, after the 18th-overall seed overcame the odds repeatedly to get to their first final in 28 seasons.