Anthony Cirelli scored the game winner in Thursday’s 2-1 overtime Game 6 win over the New York Islanders
This game looked like it would go on forever until Cirelli buried a quick feed from in tight for the winner in the extra frame. This is a player who has had a knack for scoring clutch goals at every level of hockey he has ever played – no bigger goal than this one, which gives his who franchise a chance to realize the boyhood dream of winning the Stanley Cup.
“It’s a feeling you can’t describe,” Stars coach Rick Bowness said. “… You only get so many cracks at going to the Stanley Cup Final. You’ve got to take advantage of it. For me as a coach, it’s just gratifying for the players. They’ve worked so hard. They’ve come together. We’ve been resilient all year.”
Both teams are playing the ultimate team game right now. That is exact what it takes to win it all.
“They’re obviously playing a great team game right now, a great team game,” Shattenkirk said. “There’s a lot of speed up front as well as a lot of size. Their [defense] corps can obviously lock it down but at the same time they have a couple of guys there that can join the rush and make you pay offensively. We know Khudobin’s been playing really well.”
This is the first time a coach has faced a former assistant in the Stanley Cup Final, according to the NHL Coaches’ Association. Bowness was an assistant under Lightning coach Jon Cooper for five seasons in Tampa Bay (2013-18).
Obviously, everybody wants to win. Tampa has a ton of experience to draw on. Dallas is playing elite hockey and has not been in this position since 2000.
“We’ve got a great team,” Stars captain Jamie Benn said. “Everyone’s bought into their role. … Probably one of the best teams, if not the best team I’ve played on. We just jell as a group. It’s fun in that locker room, and we’re going to try and keep this thing going.”
Both fan bases are Jacked up for this opportunity. As a hockey fan this is a dream match up to watch!
Game 1 will be Saturday in Edmonton, the hub city for the Cup Final (7:30 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVAS).