Back to Back! Tampa Bay Lightning Win Stanley Cup for Second Year in a Row
The Lightning beat the Montreal Canadiens in five games to claim the NHL's top prize
For the second straight season, the Tampa Bay Lightning are Stanley Cup Champions!
The Florida team, led by captain Steven Stamkos, took down the Montreal Canadiens in five games to claim the NHL's prized trophy for the third time in franchise history.
In Wednesday's final match, the Lightning emerged victorious with a score of 1-0.
After a scoreless first period, Ross Colton made the game's first and only goal in period two with assists from David Savard and Ryan McDonagh. The Lightning managed to stave off the Canadiens through the third period to win the game.
Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy was named the MVP to earn the coveted Conn Smythe trophy.
The Lightning nearly pulled off a sweep of the Canadiens on Monday — which would have been the first in the Stanley Cup Final since 1998 — after pushing game four into overtime, but the Habs' Josh Anderson scored less than four minutes into the extra period to nab the win and bring the series record to 3-1.
But the Lightning came out strong in game five to take the win and earn their second title in two years. They're just the second team in the salary cap era to nab the Stanley Cup in back-to-back seasons, after the Pittsburgh Penguins managed the same feat in 2016 and 2017.
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The Canadiens, the NHL's most decorated franchise with 24 titles and one of its oldest, were hoping to become the first Canadian team to win the Stanley Cup and bring it back north in 28 years. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had asked President Joe Biden to make a "friendly wager" on the series, though neither side revealed the terms of the deal.
"Two of the best teams in the NHL are facing off right now … how about a friendly wager, @POTUS?" Trudeau tweeted before Biden, responding from the POTUS Twitter account, replied, "You're on pal. #GoBolts."
Both of the Lightning's most recent Cup wins came in irregular seasons. In 2020, they battled the Dallas Stars to win the championship in a bubble playoff format in late September, after the NHL season was cut short and the playoffs were delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The ongoing health crisis also shortened the 2021 season from the usual 82 games to 56, before returning to the usual playoff format.