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

Tampa Bay Lightning
Tampa Bay Lightning. Photo: Scott Audette/Getty

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.

Tampa Bay Lightning
Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy #88 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrates with the Conn Smythe trophy. Mark LoMoglio/Getty
Tampa Bay Lightning
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman presents Steven Stamkos #91 of the Tampa Bay Lightning with the Stanley Cup. Bruce Bennett/Getty

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 strongin 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."

Tampa Bay Lightning
Steven Stamkos #91 of the Tampa Bay Lightning hoists the Stanley Cup overhead. Scott Iskowitz /Getty
Tampa Bay Lightning
Tampa Bay Lightning. Mark LoMoglio/Getty
Tampa Bay Lightning
The Tampa Bay Lightning pose with the Stanley Cup after defeating the Montreal Canadiens 1-0 in Game Five to win the 2021 NHL Stanley Cup Final. Bruce Bennett/Getty

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.

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