Lightning Strikes Twice
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What’s Happening: The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Montreal Canadiens 1-0 in Game 5 to win the Stanley Cup. In a tight-checking game in which the margins were super slim, the Lightning edged out the Canadiens in front of its home fans at Amalie Arena. Last year’s win was a bittersweet one for the Lightning as they captured the Stanley Cup while in the bubble and celebrated to the sounds of nothing in an empty arena in Edmonton. However, fast forward one year later and the Lightning were able to capture the Stanley Cup at home and in front of a raucous, sold-out crowd. Depending on how you look at it, the Lightning were clearly robbed of having a conventional Stanley Cup winning celebration last year and this year’s victory is likely to feel much better than the first.
Ross Colton: If you followed our newsletter from a few weeks ago, we identified Ross Colton as one of the unsung heroes on the Lightning. The Lightning are stacked with top-end offensive talent and Colton’s job is simply to provide his team with some grit, energy, and the occasional goal. Perhaps, no goal will ever be bigger in Colton’s career than the one he scored in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals because it was the lone and game-winning goal.
Colton’s game is tenacious and fierce and on his game-winning goal, Colton fought for every inch in front of the Montreal net to tap home a pass from defenseman, David Savard. For a guy that plays bottom-6 minutes and has to fight for every minute of ice time he gets, Colton made the most of his limited minutes in the playoffs and chipped in with some timely offense along the way.
What’s next for the Lightning and the Canadiens? The Lightning enter an offseason in which they’ll be pressed to heal up quickly and gear up for the next season that is slated to start on time in the fall. On top of healing up, the Lightning will also need to figure out who will be staying on their roster next year. A hot topic of debate was how the Lightning were accused of circumventing the salary cap by stashing Nikita Kucherov on the long-term injured reserve all season long only to have him be his usual self come Game 1 of the playoffs. The Lightning will need to shed about $20 million off their salary cap and the upcoming expansion draft and potential buyout opportunities may help them.
For the Canadiens, it’s hard not to view this season as a massive overachievement and in a good way. They were widely disregarded as underdogs in the North Division and in every single playoff round they played, but they silenced the doubters and exceeded expectations. Going forward, the future is clearly bright for the Canadiens. The emergence of both Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield has given Habs fans a glimpse as to what the future looks like. The Canadiens can look to build off the momentum generated this season and playoffs and look to add more complementary pieces to their core in order to get back to the playoffs next year.
Links from the Rink
Villain or scapegoat? Find out Nazem Kadri's thoughts on officiating and the hit that ended his playoffs.
Projected #1 Pick Owen Power is leaning towards staying another year in college. Does this bump him down from being selected first overall in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft?
Learn more about how the NHL is coping with the loss of a young and promising goalie.
Ron MacLean is once again in the hot seat but this time for something he did not say. Find out what it was here.
Rain or shine? Tampa Bay's Mayor offered her thoughts on the pending hurricane that was set to touch down in Florida before Game 5 was played.