More than 365 days after training camp started, preseason games were played and almost a year to the day the puck dropped on regular-season games, the 2019-20 NHL season has been completed — the Tampa Bay Lightning are your 2020 Stanley Cup champions.
Through early-season struggles, the pause of the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March and bubble hockey since Aug. 1, the Lightning completed one of the best redemption stories in recent sports history. After being unceremoniously swept out of the 2019 postseason as the Presidents’ Trophy winners, they followed it up by going all the way. It’s quite a turnaround.
While the clincher ended up being a 2-0 win for the Bolts, the score was not indicative of how much the Stanley Cup champs dominated Game 6 on Monday night.
After losing Game 5, their first chance at clinching in double overtime, the Lightning came out and dominated the first period. Brayden Point scored a power-play goal to get them on the board. In the second, trade-deadline acquisition Blake Coleman fired a one-timer off the rush to give his squad a two-goal cushion. Tampa Bay outshot its opponent 21-8 through the first two periods.
Andrei Vasilevskiy was masterful in net once again for Jon Cooper’s squad. He made 22 saves, including 14 in the third period when the Stars were in desperation mode.
Tampa Bay defenseman Victor Hedman was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoffs MVP.
Winning the Stanley Cup marks the first time the Florida franchise has won it since 2004. It also represents redemption for a lot of the players who lost in the last round to the Blackhawks in 2015.
Sporting News had all the action as the Lightning closed things out and got to sip from Lord Stanley’s cup.
Lightning vs. Stars scores, highlights from Game 6
(All times Eastern)
Final score: Lightning win the Stanley Cup
Third period: Lightning 2, Stars 0
10:49 p.m. — Game over. Lightning win the Stanley Cup.
10:48 p.m. — There are 37.4 seconds left and the Stanley Cup, all shiny, was just shown.
10:47 p.m. — Lots of scrambling by the Stars. Lots of Lightning players diving to block shots.
10:46 p.m. — Khudobin pulled.
10:45 p.m. — There’s 2:24 left.
10:44 p.m — For some reason, Khudobin not getting pulled and the Lightning still getting chances. Seguin with a great play to knock away a loose puck that would have surely been an easy goal.
10:41 p.m. — Terrible play by Radulov leads to Cirelli breaking out on a 2-on-1. Khudobin makes the stop.
10:39 p.m. — Stars get a power play. This is the moment. If they don’t score here it’s probably game over.
10:38 p.m. — Another unreal save by Vasilevskiy on Seguin. He is locked in.
10:30 p.m. — There’s 8:02 left in regulation. This may be the last time we see NHL games for a while.
10:27 p.m. — Stars maybe starting to show some life. They now have 11 shots for the game.
10:13 p.m. — Tyler Seguin gets nailed in the noise and is bleeding — he did it (accidentally) to himself.
10:08 p.m. — Here we go. Is this the last 20 minutes of hockey?
Second period: Lightning 2, Stars 0
9:50 p.m. — Second period ends and the Stars again put just four shots on net in the middle frame. They’ll need to turn it up in the final period if they want to get to a Game 7.
9:45 p.m. — Lightning hit the post.
9:31 p.m. — Perry gets called for goalie interference — and Vasilevskiy made a ridiculous save, too — so it’ll be 40 seconds of 4-on-4 action before another Lightning power play.
9:28 p.m. — Stars get a power play. Huge opportunity here.
9:24 p.m. — GOAL. Blake Coleman — who grew up a Dallas Stars fan, by the way — fires the one-timer from the right circle off the rush. Lightning lead 2-0.
9:17 p.m. — Missed this earlier.
9:15 p.m. — Stars with a decent chance as Oleksiak throws the puck on net but Vasilevskiy pounces on it.
9:14 p.m. — Stars start on the power play. They’ll have 36 seconds with the man advantage.
First period: Lightning 1, Stars 0
8:57 p.m. — Some notes from the first period via Natural Stat Trick :
- Lightning controlled play with a 76 CF% at 5v5.
- They also had nine shots at 5v5 while the Stars had two. Overall, the Bolts outshot the Stars 11-4.
- Each team did have two High-Danger Chances For at 5v5 but the Lightning overall had six Scoring Chances For compared to the Stars’ two.
8:55 p.m. — Period ends. Thirty-six seconds will carry over on the Stars’ power play.
8:54 p.m. — Good shot from Heiskanen as he skates in from the point and fires the wrister.
8:53 p.m. — Now the Stars get a power play as Hedman gets called for interference. There’s 1:24 left in the period and the Lightning have killed off 10 straight.
8:44 p.m. — Remember, Stars fans, it ain’t over till it’s over.
#Gostars have 9 come from behind wins in playoffs. the record is 10 set by the 2009 Pittsburgh Penguins.
— David Amber (@DavidAmber) September 29, 2020
8:43 p.m. — Lightning are turning it on.
8:39 p.m. — PP GOAL. Brayden Point skates through the middle, takes a shot near the hashmarks and follows it up with a rebound goal. Lightning take 1-0 lead.
8:38 p.m. — Another Stars penalty. This time it’s John Klingberg heading to the box.
8:38 p.m. — Eight minutes left in the period and the shots on goal are 5-1 in favor of Tampa Bay.
8:37 p.m. — Sergachev takes a big hit by Perry and it stings.
8:32 p.m. — Stars kill it off.
8:28 p.m. — Stars’ Cogliano gets called for tripping. Lightning’s potent power play is up; they have been 37.5 percent effective in the Stanley Cup Final.
8:26 p.m. — Five minutes into the game and there have been two shots on net — both belonging to Tampa Bay. This sounds familiar . . .
8:21 p.m. — Puck has been dropped. Game on.
8:02 p.m. — Not the usual suspects.
Alexander Volkov makes his NHL playoff debut; Bogosian returns. Verhaeghe/Rutta out
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) September 29, 2020
7:42 p.m. — Usual suspects.
7:38 p.m. — Good or bad omen?
Joe Pavelski – who always opens the gate for Anton Khudobin before warmup – came out to do his routine, only to find the door already ajar.
He just tapped his stick to it anyway, and returned down the tunnel.
— Thomas Drance (@ThomasDrance) September 28, 2020
7:30 p.m. — Life hacks from Jon Cooper.
Jon Cooper obviously knows the Lightning can win the Stanley Cup tonight. He said it’s not something they have yet wrapped their heads around:
“Distractions can be an enemy. If you start thinking about an outcome and not about the process I think you’re destined to fail.”
— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) September 28, 2020
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