Lightning Goes to Third Stanley Cup Straight Tournament against Avalanche
No matter what the game, winning back-to-back races is a must because it is tough. Injuries, egos, contractors often require and NHL payments confuse the second head.
The Tampa Bay Lightning, however, is close to achieving the most difficult task: Wining three Stanley Cups in a row. The two winners beat Rangers, 2-1, to win the final of the Eastern Conference on Saturday and return to the Stanley Cup finals, where they will face the Colorado Avalanche starting Wednesday in Denver.
No team has ever qualified for the third consecutive Stanley Cup since the Edmonton Oilers teams led by Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier in the mid-1980s, and the Islanders were the last team to win three cups in a row with four consecutive titles 40 years ago. 1980 to 1984.
Lightning may not impress the rest of the world with other teams in major league markets, or its larger Canadian teams. They play in Tampa, a Florida tourist destination where star Tom Brady, the quarterback for the Buccaneers, holds a number of sporting titles.
But quietly and kindly the Lightning has lined up under Coach Jon Cooper and their captain, Steven Stamkos, who has been the key to the team’s success. Now 32, the capital of Toronto has played a full 14 years in Tampa and helped create a sustainable competition.
With 522 career goals, including a playoffs, it follows only two youngsters Ovechkin and Crosby among the active players. He has also been a team that has helped fellow pilots stay together, including his teammates, Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat. The Tampa Bay series includes players with a total of 204 games, most for each team.
Stamkos added to their fine performance by scoring two goals for Lightning, including a winner in Saturday’s game, to finish the Rangers.
“It’s good to score a few goals in big games like this, but if I didn’t score and win, I would be happy,” he said after the game.
Stamkos have scored nine goals so far in the NHL competition, but Lightning has won the series by firmly controlling the Rangers in almost every aspect of the game. Tampa Bay suffered a two-game losing streak and won the last four games of the series, ahead of Rangers, 12-5. The Lightning made a small mistake, which made the Rangers the highest in the ice. The Rangers youth, in the playoffs for the first time in five seasons, failed to score even strength in the last four games of the series.
On Saturday, goals and shots on goal were close to deception, and the numbers would have been tarnished if it had not been for the Rangers player Igor Shesterkin’s wise play. Lightning had a chance to score more goals, and the Rangers, who have won all five of their playoff games, looked disappointed after a disappointing defeat in Game 5 in New York on Thursday.
While Shesterkin struggled to keep the Rangers in the game, his teammate, Tampa Bay player Andrei Vasilevskiy, was not tested. He stopped 20 shots and won his eighth consecutive game, six of which were closed.
Tampa Bay have now won 11 consecutive playoffs, something Cooper says is a continuation of his players.
“No one can blame them” if the players quit, he said. “Hey, you won one, you won two, and you came back and went third again.”
Lightning beat the Toronto Maple Leafs in seven first-round games and swept the Florida Panthers later. The Ranger then raised them in the first two games in New York.
But Lightning showed why and how he continues to win the race. They found their way around when the list moved to Tampa, they did well in every game and were a very sharp team on Saturday. He ran fast, passed abruptly and found the Rangers’ tangled paths. He dominated for the first time, trying to shoot 25 while Rangers scored 12.
Shesterkin kept Tampa away, even cleaning up his mess. After trying to remove the puck he was snatched by Riley Nash of Lightning, he stopped Patrick Maroon’s warning. He used his right pad to stop Pierre-Édouard Bellemare’s attempt and dismiss Anthony Cirelli on the run.
In the second half, Shesterkin stole Kucherov, the most successful player in Tampa Bay, as he tried to get back.
But after being stopped by Shesterkin, Tampa Bay scored for Stamkos after chasing Ryan Strome who was injured and shot in the arm from the top of the pitch.
The Rangers eventually got a chance to play strong in the third round when Corey Perry hit Filip Chytil in the face with a stick. Tampa stopped all Ranger shooting.
Rangers eventually scored in another powerful match when Stamkos were called in and Frank Vatrano fired in the face that hit Vasilevskiy.
Everything the Rangers found was missing 21 seconds later. Stamkos, coming out of the penalty box, ran into the net, grabbed Kucherov’s pass and shot the puck. Shesterkin grabbed it with his glove, but the barn came out and Stamkos’ leg fell into the net. After repetition, the goal came to a halt.
Now Tampa Bay will face Avalanche, who had plenty of time to think about their next enemy. They finished Edmonton Oilers in the Western Conference finals about a week ago. They were the best team in the West in the regular season with 119 points, and are 12-2 so far in the playoffs, including sweeping the Nashville Predators and Oilers.
Colorado conceded just 40 goals to 41 for Tampa, but Avalanche scored more often, leading both teams to 65 to 52 goals for Lightning.
Led by Nathan MacKinnon, runner-up, producer, and defender Cale Makar, whom Wayne Gretzky recently named the best player since Bobby Orr.
Colorado won its two games against Tampa Bay this season, with one goal each time. But it could be without Nazim Kadri and Andrew Cogliano, both injured. It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post.
The Rangers will have all summer to heal their injuries and consider how he shot two games against the Stanley Cup defenders. Gerard Gallant, Rangers coach, said the tiring schedule – 20 playoff games in 40 days – had disrupted his club.
The pain of the Stanley Cup Tournament ending soon will be strong.
“I don’t have one,” said Ranger center Mika Zibanejad, who has been on leave for a long time. “I do not want it to end.
Cooper, Lightning’s coach, can’t believe it’s his team.
“When you grow up in Canada, you aspire to have your name on the Stanley Cup,” he said. “And to get there for the first time, it was a dream come true. Getting back again next year was like a dream, with no way back. And the third time it is impossible. ”