The Tampa Bay Lightning are back-to-back Stanley Cup champions after beating the Montreal Canadiens 1-0 in Game 5 on Wednesday night.
They are the second team of the salary cap era to repeat, joining the 2016-17 Pittsburgh Penguins.
Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy had another strong bounce-back performance after a loss with a 22-save shutout to give the city its third championship in less than a year. The Buccaneers won the Super Bowl in February.
Vasilevskiy picked up the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP with his fifth shutout. Counting the 2020 Stanley Cup title, he has recorded shutouts in five consecutive series clinchers.
The Lightning won their 2020 championship in a bubble environment in Edmonton last fall, but this time, they got to celebrate in front of their fans at Amalie Arena. The Lightning are the first NHL team to clinch a Stanley Cup title at home since the Chicago Blackhawks did it in 2015 against Tampa Bay.
A look at Game 5:
Forward Ross Colton and defenseman David Savard weren’t part of the Lightning’s 2020 championship.
But they hooked up for the lone goal at 13:27 of the second period.
Savard took a pass from defenseman Ryan McDonagh, skated to the right faceoff circle and fed a pass out front, which Colton tipped past Montreal goalie Carey Price.
It was Colton’s fourth goal of the playoffs. He had moved up to the second line after an injury to Alex Killorn.
Colton was in the American Hockey League last season when the Lightning made their run. Savard was acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets at the deadline with some clever salary cap maneuvering by Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois.
Because of Vasilevskiy’s play, the Lightning didn’t lose back-to-back games in two consecutive postseasons. He was 7-0 last season and 7-0 this season following a loss.
The Lightning played strong defense in front of him in Game 5, but he fended off Montreal’s pressure before Colton’s goal.
He also stopped Montreal’s Josh Anderson and made a blocker save on Brendan Gallagher in the third period.
Maroon makes it three
Lightning forward Pat Maroon picked up his third consecutive Stanley Cup title, including the 2019 one with the St. Louis Blues.
He’s the first person to win three consecutive Cups with different teams since Ed Litzenberger did it with Chicago in 1961 and Toronto from 1962-64.
“I’m so pumped right now,” Maroon told NBCSN. “I want to cut my hair, shave my beard.”