EDMONTON, Alberta — The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Dallas Stars, 2-Zero, on Monday, greater than two months when they entered the N.H.L. bubble in Toronto, to depart Edmonton because the winners of the 2020 Stanley Cup finals.
Brayden Level scored on a first-period energy play and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 22 saves for his first shutout of the postseason as Tampa Bay gained the best-of-seven collection, 4 video games to 2. Blake Coleman additionally scored for the Lightning in the second one era.
Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman gained the Conn Smythe Trophy as probably the most precious participant of the playoffs. He led all defensemen this postseason with 10 objectives.
Anton Khudobin made 27 saves for the Stars, who had fallen in the back of 3 video games to 1 and compelled a 6th recreation with a double-overtime win in Sport five however may just now not push the collection to a Sport 7.
Level’s tally got here on the second one Tampa Bay energy play of the sport. He streaked down the slot, then picked up his personal rebound and beat Khudobin top for his playoff-leading 14th objective of the postseason. His linemate Nikita Kucherov drew the main lend a hand, his playoff-leading 34th level and 27th lend a hand, 5th best possible in N.H.L. historical past in the back of most effective Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux.
Vasilevskiy performed each and every minute in web for the Lightning and set a postseason file for mins performed. The outdated file was once held by means of the Calgary Flames’ Miikka Kiprusoff, who was once at the shedding aspect in 2004 when the Lightning gained their franchise’s most effective earlier championship.
After the Lightning captain Steven Stamkos made a temporary however exciting look for two mins 47 seconds in Sport three and scored a objective on his most effective shot, Tampa Bay Trainer Jon Cooper formally dominated him out for the remainder of the playoffs on Sunday. He placed on his uniform to obtain the Cup from Commissioner Gary Bettman after the sport.
Cooper made two lineup adjustments for Sport 6 — reinserting defenseman Zach Bogosian rather than Jan Rutta for the primary time since Sport 1 and swapping out ahead Carter Verhaeghe in prefer of the rookie Alexander Volkov, who noticed his first occupation playoff motion.
Following back-to-back video games through which the Lightning gained in time beyond regulation on Friday and the Stars spoke back again in double time beyond regulation on Saturday, the depth took a little of a dip on Monday, because the golf equipment settled in for any other tight-checking first era.
As was once steadily the case on this collection, particular groups have been the adaptation. The Lightning have been 1 for three with the person benefit, whilst the Stars have been Zero for three. Dallas’s ultimate energy play got here with four:33 left within the 3rd era.
The Stars have been not able to generate a unmarried shot on objective, however saved urgent after pulling Khudobin for the additional attacker. After producing simply 8 photographs within the first two classes, Dallas outshot Tampa Bay, 14-Eight, within the 3rd, however Vasilevskiy stopped all of them.
As time ran out, the screams of pleasure echoed via Rogers Position, which was once devoid of ticket-buying lovers, because the Lightning gamers poured onto the ice to have a good time a Stanley Cup win that have been a very long time coming.
Level’s first-period objective proved to be the sport winner, and Coleman’s insurance coverage tally got here off a lovely tic-tac-toe passing play at 7:01 of the second one era. Assists on that objective went to Cedric Paquette and Pat Maroon, who stole the puck to begin the play.
A brand new addition to the Lightning this season, Maroon got here into the playoffs as the one Tampa Bay participant with a Stanley Cup ring. On Monday, he lifted the trophy for the second one consecutive yr after profitable together with his homeland St. Louis Blues in 2019.
For the Lightning and plenty of in their gamers, this Stanley Cup carries an air of vindication. 365 days in the past, they completed the common season because the N.H.L.’s most sensible staff and tied a league file with 62 wins. However their championship aspirations have been temporarily snuffed in a first-round sweep by the hands of the eighth-seeded Columbus Blue Jackets.
This season, the Lightning got here again mentally harder, partly because of the addition of a few different veterans who felt they’d one thing to end up. Considered one of them, defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, scored the time beyond regulation winner in Sport four to position the Lightning one win clear of the Stanley Cup — only one yr after he was once purchased out of the closing two years of his contract with the Rangers.
In an technology of parity within the N.H.L., the place dynastic franchises in large part belong to a bygone technology, Tampa Bay has been one of the crucial a hit groups within the league since Cooper took over in the back of their bench close to the top of the 2012-13 season.
For 5 of the ones years, from 2013 to 2018, Cooper was once assisted by means of Rick Bowness, the veteran defensive trainer who left for Dallas originally of the 2018-19 season. He was once named the Stars’ meantime head trainer halfway via this season, after Jim Bernard Law Montgomery was once pushed aside.
Cooper is recently the longest-tenured trainer within the league. Beneath his management, the membership has now made the playoffs in six of his seven complete seasons, achieving the Jap Convention finals two times and shedding to Chicago within the 2015 Stanley Cup finals sooner than in the end completing the process this yr — a Solar Belt staff knowing its championship desires in an empty area in Northern Alberta.