Whatever the game, winning championship titles again is rare because it is so tough. Injuries, egos, contract demands and the NHL pay cap often stifle second-title runs.
Tampa Bay Lightning, however, is close to achieving one more tough one: winning three Stanley Cups in a row. They beat two-time champions Rangers 2-1 to win Saturday’s Eastern Conference final and return to the Stanley Cup final, where they face the Colorado Avalanche, who start in Denver on Wednesday.
No team has reached the Stanley Cup Finals three straight since the Edmonton Oils, led by Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier in the mid-1980s, and the last team to win three straight trophies when they won four consecutive titles 40 years ago. 1980 to 1984.
Some clubs in the league’s major markets or its Canadian teams may not receive national attention. They play in Tampa, a tourist destination in Florida, where star Tom Brady, the quarterback for the Buccaneers, catches most of the game’s headlines.
But there is lightning in silence and empathy Built a dynasty Under coach John Cooper and their captain Steven Stamkos, he was instrumental in the team’s success. Now 32, the center of suburban Toronto has played throughout his 14-year career at Tampa and helped develop into a perennial competitor.
With 522 career goals, including playoffs, he outscored only two of the active players, Oweskin and Crosby. He has also been the glue that helped keep his tall flying crew together, including his linemates Nikita Kucherov and Ontraj Ballat. Tampa Bay’s list includes players with 204 playoff games.
To finish the Rangers, Stamkos added to his star career when he scored two goals for Lightning.
“It’s very nice to score two goals in a big game like this, but I would have been happy if we had won without scoring a goal,” he said after the game.
Stamkos have scored nine goals so far in the NHL playoffs, but Lightning dominated every aspect of the game to win the series in solid style. Tampa Bay overcame a two-game deficit and won the last four games of the series, beating the Rangers 12-5. Lightning made some bugs that kept the Rangers’ high-quality power play out of the ice. The Young Rangers have not scored in the playoffs for the first time in five seasons, even in the last four games of the series.
On Saturday, the score and shots on goal were deceptively close, and the figures would have been even more upside down had it not been for Rangers goalie Igor Chesterkin’s brilliant play. Lightning had high quality scoring opportunities, and the Rangers, who had won all five elimination games during the playoffs, lost after a miserable defeat in Game 5 in New York on Thursday.
While trying to keep Chester’s Rangers active in the game, his counterpart Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevsky was rarely tested. He stopped 20 shots and won his eighth consecutive Cleansing Game, including six shotouts.
Tampa Bay have now won 11 straight playoff series, and Cooper was responsible for the consistent movement of his players.
If the players give up, he said, “no one will criticize them.” “Hey, you won one, you won two, come back and go third.”
Lightning Toronto won the maple leaves Seven games in the first round, after which the Florida Panthers won. The Rangers then extended them to the first two games of the series in New York.
But lightning showed why and how they win the championship. As the series moved to Tampa they found their footing, progressed in every game and were a very sharp team on Saturday. They slid quickly, made crisp passes and picked up the wrong passes through the Rangers. In the first phase they dominated, attempted 25 shots and the Rangers tackled 12.
Stopped Chester’s Tampa. Attempts to destroy the page were thwarted by Lightning’s Riley Nash, who stopped Patrick Maroon’s tip. He used his right hand to block a tip attempt by Pierre-Edward Bellemer, and Anthony Cyrelli refused to part.
In the second period, Chesterkin Kucherov robbed Tampa Payne of a high score.
But after all of Chesterkick’s frantic stops, Tampa Bay scored after Stamkhos crossed the injured Ryan Strom and threw a wrist shot from the top of the circle.
The Rangers finally got a power play chance in the third period when Corey Perry hit Philip Seattle in the face with a stick. Tampa blocked all shots of the Rangers.
The Rangers finally scored in another power play, when Stamkos was called up for holding, and Frank Vadrono scored a shot that went past Vasilevsky.
The Rangers disappeared after 21 seconds no matter what the speed. Stamkos came out of the penalty box, ran into the net, took a pass from Kucherov and made a buck shot. Chesterkin grabbed it with his glove, but the buck jumped out and Stamkos’ foot bounced it into the net. After the review, the goal was fixed.
Now that Tampa Bay is facing an avalanche, they have plenty of time to think about their next enemy. About a week ago they finished the Edmonton Oilers in the Western Conference Final. They were the best team in the West with 119 points in the regular season, and they are 12-2 so far in the playoffs, including sweeps of the Nashville Predators and Oilers.
Colorado allowed Tampa’s only 40 for 41, but the avalanche often struck, with Lightning leading all teams to 52 with 65 goals.
They are led by Nathan McKinnon, Fast, Creativity Center, and Defensive player Kale McCarthyWayne Gretzky was recently called the best two-way player after Bobby Orc.
Colorado have won by one goal each of the two games against Tampa Back this season. But It may not be Both Naseem Kadri and Andrew Cogliano have injuries to their fingers. It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post.
The Rangers will heal their injuries all summer and need to think about how they threw their two-game lead against the current champions of the Stanley Cup. Rangers coach Gerrard Galland, on a tough schedule – 20 playoff games in 40 days – knocked his club out.
The Stingley Cup run will endure the sting that ends soon.
“I’m empty,” said Rangers center Mika Jibanejat, who stopped short. “I do not want it to end.”
Cooper, the Lightning coach, could not believe it was not for his team.
“When you grow up in Canada, you always dreamed of your name in the Stanley Cup,” he said. “Going there the first time was a dream come true. Going there a second time next year was like a dream, we had no way to go back and going a third time was unthinkable.
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