What’s old is new again: The 2020 Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning are now the 2021 Stanley Cup champions, beating Montreal 1-0 in Game 5 on Wednesday.
“To do it in front of our fans and our families, it’s so special, special, I never thought I would ever experience this in my life. It’s unbelievable,” Victor Hedman said during an on-ice interview.
When the Lightning won their last Cup 282 days ago, they did it in the Edmonton bubble. On July 7, in a clinically dominating game, they shut the Canadiens out, 1-0, in front of a packed Amalie Arena in Tampa.
“This group, no matter what happens from here on out, this group is going to be etched in history forever, and that’s pretty f—ing special,” captain Steven Stamkos said. “I’m so proud of the guys. You can’t soak it in yet. It’s so fresh. It’s so new. You don’t even realize what’s going to happen. We won the Stanley Cup and we still have the Stanley Cup. That’s just amazing.”
New Jersey native Ross Colton, who grew up watching the Devils win their Cups in 2000 and 2003, scored the lone goal of the game off a pass from David Savard. Those two guys were the only ones in the Lightning lineup for Game 5 who did not win the Cup with the team last year. Savard was with the Blue Jackets; Colton is a rookie.
In an ironic twist, Colton is the seventh rookie to score the Cup-clincher — and the first since Mike Rupp did it for the Devils in 2003.
The Conn Smythe winner, Andrei Vasilevskiy, stopped all 22 shots he faced in the clincher. What a run by him, by the way — he ended the postseason with a shutout in every series-clinching win, an NHL record. Unreal. Vasilevskiy, the third Russian to win the award (joining Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin) as the “most valuable player to his team in the playoffs,” posted a 1.90 goals-against average, .937 save percentage and had five shutouts in 23 games.
“He makes guys like us look good is what he does,” said coach Jon Cooper, surrounded by his coaching staff. “What’s remarkable to me is I can’t believe how he shuts the door in the biggest games of his career. What is it, five now? He’s the big cat and when he locks in, he is remarkable to watch.”
With the win, the Lightning moved to an impressive 13-0 in games following a loss dating back to last year’s first round (both their Cups were clinched in games following a loss). They are just the second team this century to win back-to-back Cups, following Pittsburgh’s two straight in 2016 and ’17. The 2021 Cup marked the third one for the franchise, who also won in 2004 at home. It also marked the third straight for Pat Maroon.
Sporting News has all of the action as Lightning won the Stanley Cup:
Canadiens vs. Lightning live score, highlights from Game 5
(All times Eastern)
Third period: Lightning 1, Canadiens 0
10:51 p.m. — Lightning are your 2021 Stanley Cup champions.
10:51 p.m. — With 10 seconds left, they clear.
10:50 p.m. — Thirty seconds and Goodrow another block.
10:50 p.m. — Big stop by Vasilevskiy on Toffoli.
10:49 p.m. — Faceoff with 1:29 left deep in the Lightning zone after a timeout.
10:48 p.m. — Price to the bench. McDonagh ices after a blocked shot.
10:47 p.m. — Faceoff with 1:40 left as Canadiens go offside so Price goes back in net.
10:47 p.m. — With 1:50 left, Price finally goes to the bench.
10:46 p.m. — Three minutes to go.
10:43 p.m. — Just 5:53 left.
10:40 p.m. — Goodrow is back on the ice, because of course.
10:38 p.m. — Vasilevskiy stops Gallagher, then Goodrow puts his body on the line and blocks a Weber shot. Goodrow, for his efforts, had trouble getting off the ice and got a push from Gourde.
10:32 p.m. — Ten minutes to go. Is this the last 10 minutes of the NHL’s 2021 season?
10:31 p.m. — Yanni Gourde with a shot on goal off a drop pass. He knocks down Suzuki after and the Canadiens do not like it.
10:30 p.m. — Carey Price is keeping his guys in this one.
10:21 p.m. — Anderson is back on the Montreal bench.
10:20 p.m. — Sounds like fans are chanting: “We want the Cup.”
10:17 p.m. — Anderson breaks in, gets wrapped up by Cernak, gets the chance but slams hard into the net. He went to the locker room.
10:15 p.m. — Two big stops by Price to keep it a one-goal game — including a pad stop on Ondrej Palat.
10:12 p.m. — Lightning on the power play as the third period begins.
Second period: Lightning 1, Canadiens 0
9:53 p.m. — Period ends. Lightning will start the third with 1:23 left on the power play.
9:51 p.m. — With 37.1 seconds left, Chiarot called for holding Point.
9:51 p.m. — With under a minute in the period, Weber to Lehkonen for the redirect in the slot but he is denied.
9:40 p.m. — The game opens up a bit and the Canadiens get a 3-on-1 but can’t connect passes.
9:38 p.m. — GOAL. Savard with a brilliant pass right on the tape of Ross Colton who just redirects the puck into the net. Tampa Bay leads 1-0.
9:34 p.m. — Caufield hits the pipe from a bad angle — kind of his specialty to score from bad angles, by the way — before Corey Perry gets a chance.
9:32 p.m. — Heading into this power play, Canadiens being outshot 3-0 when they have the man advantage. Yikes.
9:31 p.m. — Nick Suzuki gets his feet kicked out by Sergachev and the Lightning defenseman gets called for two.
9:31 p.m. — Lightning continue to get pucks to the net but the guy crashing can’t bury it.
9:24 p.m. — Pat Maroon walks in but can’t beat Price.
9:21 p.m. — Big-time kill for the Lightning as the Canadiens don’t get a shot on goal.
9:18 p.m. — Savard sends one over the glass and the Canadiens get a power play. They’re 1-for-8 in the series.
9:18 p.m. — Puck has been dropped as we are sitting, waiting, wishing for the first goal.
First period: Canadiens 0, Lightning 0
8:59 p.m. — Period comes to an end.
8:51 p.m. — Five minutes to go and the Canadiens are being outshot 11-3. Where have we heard this before?
8:49 p.m. — Tyler Johnson sends one off the crossbar just seconds after Eric Staal had a chance at the other end.
8:43 p.m. — Still waiting on that all-important first goal.
How important is the first goal?
When the opposition scores:
Tampa is 0 and 5
Montreal in 1 and 6 #StanleyCup
— John Shannon (@JShannonhl) July 8, 2021
8:41 p.m. — Back to 5v5.
8:40 p.m. — Rutta out of the box and the Lightning have another power play.
8:38 p.m. — With 37 seconds left on the Canadiens power play, puck squirts out and Coleman has a chance on a breakaway but Josh Anderson hooks him on the hands and is called for two.
8:36 p.m. — Coincidental minors to Erik Cernak (interference) and Corey Perry (embellishment). It’s still 5-on-4.
8:36 p.m. — Blake Coleman with the two best chances on the Canadiens power play — and he’s on the Lightning.
8:32 p.m. — Jan Rutta called for cross-checking.
8:28 p.m. — Kucherov walks out of the corner but Price hugs the post. Teams say hi afterward.
8:27 p.m. — Canadiens with bad coverage in the defensive zone but get lucky as Brayden Point is left all alone and can’t handle the puck.
8:26 p.m. — Lightning get the first power play (2-for-12 in the series) as Corey Perry trips Mathieu Joseph. Bolts fourth line again getting things done.
8:21 p.m. — Game on.
8:09 p.m. — Killorn still out.
8 p.m. — Lines are the same for the Canadiens. No Jesperi Kotkaniemi.
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