The Tampa Bay Lightning are consecutive Stanley Cup champions after beating the Montreal Canadiens 1-0 in Game 5 on Wednesday night.
They are the second team in the salary cap era to repeat themselves, joining the 2016-17 Pittsburgh Penguins.
Lightning-fast goalkeeper Andrei Vasilevskiy had another strong rebounding performance after a loss with a shutout of 22 saves to give the city its third championship in less than a year. The Buccaneers won the Super Bowl in February.
Vasilevskiy won the Conn Smythe Trophy as a playoff MVP with his fifth elimination. Counting the 2020 Stanley Cup title, he recorded shutouts in five consecutive clincher series.
The Lightning won their 2020 championship in a bubble environment in Edmonton last fall, but this time they celebrated in front of their fans at the Amalie Arena. The Lightning are the first NHL team to clinch a Stanley Cup title at home since the Chicago Blackhawks did so in 2015 against Tampa Bay.
A look at game 5:
Forward Ross Colton and defender David Savard were not part of the 2020 Lightning Championship.
But they hooked up for the lone goal at 13:27 of the second period.
Savard received a pass from defender Ryan McDonagh, skated to the right faceoff circle and provided a front pass, which Colton overtook Montreal goalkeeper Carey Price.
It was Colton’s fourth goal of the playoffs. He had moved to the second row after Alex Killorn’s injury.
Colton was in the American Hockey League last season when the Lightning had their run. Savard was acquired by the Columbus Blue Jackets on maturity with some clever salary cap maneuvers by Lightning CEO Julien BriseBois.
Due to Vasilevskiy’s play, the Lightning have not lost consecutive games in two consecutive postseason. It was 7-0 last season and 7-0 this season after a defeat.
Lightning played a strong defense in front of him in Game 5 but repelled pressure from Montreal before Colton’s goal.
He also stopped Montreal’s Josh Anderson and parried a wall on Brendan Gallagher in the third period.
Maroon makes three
Lightning striker Pat Maroon won his third straight Stanley Cup title, including his 2019 stint with the St. Louis Blues.
He is the first person to win three consecutive Cups with different teams since Ed Litzenberger did so with Chicago in 1961 and Toronto from 1962-64.
“I’m so excited right now,” Maroon told NBCSN. “I want to cut my hair, shave my beard.”