Lightning Win Stanley Cup With 2-0 Shutout Of Dallas
The Lightning picked up the franchise's second Stanley Cup — their first since 2004 — by knocking off the Stars in six games.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are the champions of bubble hockey.
Brayden Point scored his playoff-best 14th goal, and the Lightning beat the Dallas Stars 2-0 to win the Stanley Cup and finish off the NHL playoffs staged in quarantine during the pandemic.
The clock hitting zeros in an empty arena in Edmonton set off a wild celebration for a group that endured years of playoff heartbreak and two months in isolation.
Goals from Point and Blake Coleman and a 22-save shutout by Andrei Vasilevskiy were enough to power the Lightning to their second championship in franchise history after winning it in 2004.
The Lightning's Victor Hedman won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. The big Swedish defenseman won the honor despite high-scoring performances from teammates Nikita Kucherov and Point.
“The beauty of our team is everyone was chipping in,” Point said. “We got contributions from anyone and everyone at different times, and that’s what makes this win so special.”
The playoffs became a showcase of Hedman's skills on both ends of the ice. He also showed key leadership in the absence of injured captain Steven Stamkos, who only played a few minutes in Game 3 last week.
“It takes a lot to be in a bubble for 80 days or whatever long it was,” Hedman said. “But it’s all worth it now. We’re coming home with the Cup.”
Following the victory, Stamkos was presented the Stanley Cup by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.
The Lightning's victory came a season after the team won a league-high 62 games, only to be swept out of the first round of the playoffs by the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The team also lost in the 2015 finals to the Chicago Blackhawks, and in the seventh game of the Eastern Conference finals in 2016 and 2018.
The Lightning are scheduled to return to Tampa Tuesday at 5 p.m.
The team and the city of Tampa will host two events Wednesday for fans to celebrate the win: a boat parade at 5 p.m. along the Tampa Riverwalk and Hillsborough River, and a celebration at Raymond James Stadium at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets to the 7:30 p.m. celebration will be free and can be claimed at ticketmaster.com, starting Tuesday at 1 p.m. Socially distant pod seating will apply with groups available of up to six people. Parking at the stadium will also be free.
"The Stanley Cup is once again coming home to Tampa and we could not be more proud of the Tampa Bay Lightning for embodying the resilient, fighting spirit of the Tampa Bay community and for bringing the Cup home," Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said.
"Despite every challenge this past year, Tampa continues to ensure that our comeback is even greater than any setback. Thank you to our team for working hard, playing hard, and giving our community something to celebrate. We cannot wait for Stanley to get that tan. GO BOLTS!"
Following the coronavirus-shortened 2019-20 regular season, the Lightning took part in playoff series that took place in empty arenas in Toronto and Edmonton.
The NHL administered more than 33-thousand COVID-19 tests to club personnel since 24 teams entered the bubbles in the summer. The NHL reported no positive tests for the ninth week in a row.
The Lightning's Patrick Maroon joined elite company by winning the Stanley Cup in consecutive seasons with different teams.
Maroon is the only member of the Lightning to win it last year with the St. Louis Blues.
He's the eighth player to do it in NHL history and first since Claude Lemieux in the 1990s to get his name on the Cup in consecutive years.
Corey Stillman went back to back in 2004 with the Lightning and 2006 with the Carolina Hurricanes after the lockout prevented the trophy from being awarded in 2005.