Top News

Lightning shut out Stars, win Cup in Game 6

EditorsNote: Corrects Hedman's assist total in 7th graf (changed to 12)

As the Stanley Cup was being passed around by his Tampa Bay Lightning teammates, captain Steven Stamkos struggled to find the words.

The Lightning have been among Cup favorites for the past few years, but they kept falling short. The worst example occurred in 2019, when, despite being the far-and-away regular-season champions, they were swept aside by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the opening round of the playoffs.

A season later, the Lightning are atop the hockey world, having claimed the Cup with a 2-0 victory over the Dallas Stars Monday night in Edmonton to clinch the best-of-seven series in six games.

"I'm so proud of this team and everything we've accomplished. I'm speechless," Stamkos, who was only able to play one period during the series due to injury, said on the CBC broadcast. "It's one of the greatest feelings in the world."

The "heartbreak" of the 2019 postseason, as coach Jon Cooper called it, taught his team what it took to win.

"Sometimes in failure you find success," Cooper said. "It doesn't come easy. I truly believe the heartbreak we suffered brought us here today."

"We're going to be Stanley Cup champs forever," added Tampa Bay lynchpin defenseman Victor Hedman, who collected 10 goals and 12 assists during the championship run and was named the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as the top player in the postseason. "Our kids, our grandkids, if they look at the Stanley Cup, they're going to see our names."

Tampa Bay, which won the Cup for the second time in franchise history, rode a 22-save shutout by goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy -- the first playoff shutout of his career. Goals by Brayden Point and Blake Coleman provided enough offense against a Stars team that simply couldn't match up.

"We had a lot of confidence in our group," said Point, whose goal was the 14th of the playoffs and fifth in the Stanley Cup Final. "We played so hard, played our system well. We weren't thinking about the game ahead of us.

"It's a special group. I'm so proud of our guys."

Point opened the scoring 12:23 into the first period. He gained the puck off the rush, and after his first shot was stopped, he controlled the rebound and hit the mark for a power-play goal.

The Lightning won every playoff game in which Point lit the lamp. He led all NHL players in goals during the 2020 postseason, edging Dallas' Joe Pavelski (13).

Coleman doubled the Lightning's lead 7:01 into the second period when he blasted a one-timer set up by Cedric Paquette to conclude a three-way passing play that also included Pat Maroon.

The Stars managed only four shots on goal in each of the first two periods, a testament to the strong defensive play by the Lightning. Dallas finally managed to generate an attack during the third period, but Vasilevskiy stood tall in blocking all 14 shots that came his way in the final frame.

At the other end, Stars netminder Anton Khudobin made 27 saves. Khudobin sparkled throughout the playoffs upon taking the net when No. 1 goalie Ben Bishop went down due to injury, but it wasn't enough.

"There's no feelings right now," Khudobin said. "Just ended, you know? We battled hard, especially with the situation. It's not easy to stay without families for two months, stuff like that. We stick together, we stick to each other. But right now, there's nothing."

Nothing but disappointment, which is a shame considering all the Stars overcame en route to reaching the final round, including upset series victories over the Colorado Avalanche and Vegas Golden Knights despite a plethora of injuries.

"We gave it our all," Dallas defenseman John Klingberg said. "Key players got hurt, we grinded it out. I'm proud of this team."

Stars captain Jamie Benn could barely contain his disappointment during the postgame news conference.

"It sucks. You go through a lot with our group and ...," said Benn, who was too distraught to finish the sentence. "It was a good run. It's tough here. You're two games away from the Stanley Cup."

--Field Level Media

Did this story inform or enhance your perspective on this subject?
1 being least likely, and 10 being most likely

Recent Stories