The Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup for the second year in a row after defeating the Montreal Canadiens 1-0 in Game 5 on home ice. The game was scoreless until late in the second period, when rookie Ross Colton got one past Canadiens’ goalie Carey Price.
The Lightning proved to be a team that could play any style of hockey. A team worthy of multiple championships.
Bolts netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 22 shots en route to the win, and was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. Vasilevskiy posted a shutout in every series-clinching win in the 2021 playoffs.
It’s so hard to win the Stanley Cup,” Stamkos said. “And then you do it two years in a row, you deserve to go down in history.”
“To do it in front of our fans and our families, it’s so special, special,” defenseman Victor Hedman said. “It’s out of this world.”
The scene couldn’t have been any further from the mirthless, empty arena where the Lightning won the Cup last September in a quarantined bubble across the continent in Edmonton, Alberta. Tampa Bay joined Pittsburgh as the only back-to-back Cup winner in the salary cap era, but even more impressively did it in the shortest span between championships in the long history of the NHL.
Never losing twice in a row thanks to Vasilevskiy’s brilliance and one of the deepest rosters constructed since the cap was implemented in 2005, the Lightning solidified their status as a modern-day dynasty.
How deep? Nikita Kucherov had 32 points to join Mario Lemieux as the only players to lead the postseason in scoring two years in a row, and Brayden Point scored 14 goals through three rounds. Kucherov, Point, and Hedman all played through injuries, too.
For some of Montreal’s younger superstars, the unlikely campaign was a rare chance to experience professional hockey at its pinnacle, a teachable moment they can only hope will present itself again.
Tampa Bay’s mayor had suggested the Lightning lose Game 4 on the road so they could win at home, and she got her wish, as coach Jon Cooper’s team became the first since Chicago in 2015 to hoist the Cup on home ice.