Tampa Bay Lightning: Not So Shocking Win


Tampa Bay won game 6 of the Stanley Cup finishing off the series.

Emily Eigenbrode

 A few weeks ago the Tampa Bay Lighting defeated the Dallas Stars in a seven game series where they won four games and lost two winning their second Stanley Cup in franchise history. Game six ended with a score of 2-0 and more than two months after the NHL entered the bubble in Toronto and Edmonton.  The Stanley Cup playoffs began on September 19 and concluded on September 28.  Since 1928, there hasn’t been a playoff series in just one location until now.  Due to the Coronavirus, most of the season was played in a single facility in Edmonton, Canada.   In addition, this was also the first ever Stanley Cup to be in September instead of starting in early spring.

How does the NHL Bubble Work?- 

    The bubble is located in both Toronto and Edmonton Canada. Each team is designated one floor at a specific hotel, to limit the contact between different teams. Players are also able to access other arenas, practice facilities, and dining areas. A lot of food has also been brought in from local and non-local vendors which players are able to order their food from ahead of time. Players are able to get some other access but by the discretion of the team. Honestly, we don’t really know much about life inside the bubble because it is kept quite discrete. As of a few weeks ago, they have been covid testing everyday for eight weeks. With 32,274 tests done there has yet to be a positive case but there is still a great possibility. Many players have struggled with the fact they are away from their families at home due to the strict guidelines the NHL must follow. 

    One western conference player stated, “We love playing this sport, and I don’t think there is one guy who wasn’t appreciative for the chance to win the Cup this summer…But also, I don’t think a lot of fans realize what an emotional toll the bubble took on some guys — the isolation, the grind, being away from our families and loved ones during a really stressful time to begin with. To be honest, after the first few days, I noticed a lot of guys were more down than they usually are. Some guys were legitimately sad. It’s not easy living like that for two months.” This bubble has taken a big toll on many players. A lot of us might want to get away and would think that would be fun to be with all your teammates in a bubble but now that’s just not the reality. 

Game Summary-
    The first game Dallas was able to push through with a 4-1 win. In the first period of the game, neither of the teams scored many goals, although they did each score a goal. The first goal was scored by the Dallas Stars defenseman Joel Hanley. In the second period, both teams were able to score. Dallas was originally up at the end of the period. Later on in the period Andrei Vasilevskiy was able to make it 2–1. In the third period, the Stars played more defensively, putting up only two shots compared to the Lightning who fired twenty-two shots at the Stars goalie Anton Khudobin. 

      In game two, the Lightning struck three times in the first period. The first goal came from Brayden point. Later on a second goal was made by the Lightning making the score 2-0. In the second period, the Stars shot eighteen times and eventually caught a break on the power-play (a powerplay is used to describe a period of play where a team had a numerical advantage in players usually due to a rule violation with the opposing team). A lot of tension was in this game, which caused a lot of roughing penalties. Although the Stars thought they were going to win in the last couple minutes, the Lightning took a sneaky shot winning the game making the series 1-1.  

     In game three, Tampa bay came out swinging, scoring two goals quite fast. Later in the second period, Tampa also scored three more times, the first goal coming from Alexander Radulov. The Dallas goalie scored so little that Dallas took out their goalie and replaced him with rookie Jake Oettinger. The Dallas Stars were very frustrated and began to rough up the Lighting three different times. The first was when Mattias Janmark Hit Palat with a high stick. The second came from Jamie Benn and Jan Rutta who both earned misconducts as a result of the fight. Finally, the third came from a cross check by Joe Pavelski on Cedric Paqueette, which caused an uproar from both teams. A cross check is when the hockey player holds the stick horizontally and shoves it into the player. In the end the score was 5-2, and took the lead on the series 2-1. 

    Although Tampa came out swinging in the third came this was definitely not the case for the fourth game, after a 2-0 deficit. The first swing of the game happened to be a goal, which almost never happens.  With 33 seconds left in the first period Tampa Bay was able to make it on the board. Tampa Bay got on the board with 33 seconds remaining in the period. The Lightning was able to tie the game up again when Andrew Cogliano got caught for hooking. The game was tied 4-4 causing it to go into overtime. In overtime, a player from the opposing team pushed down Tyler Johnson; controversially, he was called for tripping. After the tripping incident Shattenkirk, shot at a sharp angle for the game-winning goal and a 3–1 series lead. 

    This game was very tense due to the fact that if Tampa was able to win this game they would win the Stanley Cup. In the first period the score was 1-1. The Lightning kept putting the pressure on the Stars for the remainder of the second period, firing away 13 shots. In desperate need to win this game the Stars tied the game 2-2.  The Stars tied the game 2–2. The point was very special because Joe Pavalskii, who put it past Andrei Vasilevskiy broke the record held by Joe Mullen for most career playoff goals scored by a US-born player. After the 3rd period both of the teams were tied allowing for an overtime. No goals were scored in the first overtime leading to a second. A little bit into the second over time the Stars made a goal allowing for the score to be  3–2, forcing a sixth game.

     In game six, Tampa came out very strong scoring two goals in the first two periods while the Stars had none. The Stars would remain scoreless throughout the game leading to the victory of the Tampa Bay Lightning. The game is very important for a couple of reasons. This first reason is Vasilevskiy stopped all 22 shots by Dallas, earning his first playoff shutout. The second reason is that it’s the Stanley Cup. With a 2–0 victory, the Tampa Bay Lightning won their second Stanley Cup. Lightning defenceman Victor Hedman was given the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player of the playoffs. This award dates back to 1964 where Jean Believau won the award first. 

     A lot of people aren’t very shocked about Tampa’s Win. The Tampa Bay Lighting are high ranking players, along with several other Tampa sports teams. For example, currently the Tampa Bay Rays are fighting to win the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.   It’s possible Tampa could come home with two major wins within a month of each other. For many this was a surreal scene to see no one in the stands and as of now this will probably become normal. The Lighting was able to hoist the Stanley Cup with no cheering from the stands. Although it might not have felt the same this year, there is always hope for next year. Looking forward to 2021, from the words of Chance the Rapper in a popular SNL skit, “let’s go play that hockey”.