The Tampa Bay Lightning will look to sweep the Montreal Canadiens tonight.
The Lightning has been locked down in their hotel rooms the last three days except for trips to the Bell Centre for practice.
The Canadien Government announced that the Lightning families would not be allowed to cross the border and celebrate the championship with the Lightning team should they win the Stanley Cup tonight.
Hurricane Elsa is churning in the Southwestern Gulf of Mexico and threatens the Tampa Bay region with heavy rain and tropical storm-force winds Tuesday and Wednesday.
Despite this, the Tampa Bay Lightning will look to raise the Stanley Cup for the second consecutive year among all this adversity.
A win and the Lightning will join some elite company. They will become the first team to repeat since the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016 and 2017.
The Lightning would become the first team to win the Stanley Cup in a sweep since the 1997-98 Detroit Red Wings.
The Lightning has also never lost a playoff series when they have a 3-0 lead.
There is a sliver of hope however for the Montreal Canadiens. Four teams in the history of the NHL have come back from 3-0 deficits to win the Stanley Cup.
The Los Angeles Kings in 2014 won four straight against the New York Rangers to win the series four games to one. The 2010 Philadelphia Flyers, the 1975 New York Islanders, and the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs also won four straight to win a Stanley Cup.
Lightning forward, Pat Maroon could also become the first player in NHL history to win a Stanley Cup in three straight seasons with two different teams.
Maroon talked about that opportunity with the media on Sunday. “It’s a great opportunity for myself. It’s a great achievement. It would be an amazing. I just think it’s how we come together. We play for each other. It’s a brotherhood bond we have, the compete and next man up mentality.”
Outside of the Lightning acquiring defensemen David Savard from Columbus at the trade deadline, this is pretty much the same roster that won the cup last year.
The Lightning offensively has been on fire in the finals. The Lightning has scored 14 goals in three games. The first team to accomplish that feat since the 1997 Detroit Red Wings.
Montreal has had no answers for the Lightning offensive attack.
You can’t focus on the Palat, Point, Kucherov line when you play the Lightning. The Lightning has three solid scoring lines and gets contributions from the blue line with Victor Hedman and Erik Cernak.
Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy should win the Conn Smyth Trophy as the playoff MVP. Vasilevskiy has been outstanding this playoff run going 15-6 with a 1.94 goals-against average and a .938 save percentage with four shutouts.
Nikita Kucherov and Braydon Point will also get some consideration for the Conn Smythe Trophy.
A win and the Lightning will cement their legacy as one of the top teams in NHL history. Since 1970 Montreal, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Philadelphia, Edmonton, and the New York Islanders are the only teams to win back-to-back Stanley Cups.
When you talk about NHL dynasties, the Montreal Canadiens won four straight from 1976-1979. The New York Islanders played in five straight Stanley cup finals, winning four straight from 1980-1984. The Edmonton Oilers played in four Stanley Cup finals from 1984-1988. And the Chicago Blackhawks won three Cups in six years from 2010 to 2015.
This will be clearly the most challenging game to win for the Lightning this season. A series-clinching win is always the hardest one to get. The Lightning is 3-2 in games where they have a chance to win a series this post-season.
Jon Cooper talked about winning a second Stanley Cup Championship and what it would mean for the organization.
“Now it becomes like a legacy thing. You talk about some of the great teams in a decade span. You’d hope that the Tampa Bay Lightning would be mentioned in that. You sit back and say, ‘Man, look at what Chicago did. They won three in six. And look what L.A. did. Look what Pittsburgh did. And ultimately, this second one, there’s a long way to go, but we didn’t have really the ability to share it with a fanbase that’s been pretty damn loyal to us, who we care a ton for, and they care for our team.
The Lightning will try to score first and put the Canadiens are on their heels. Then the Lightning will turn to the blue line to shut down the Montreal offensive attack.
The Lightning will win their second straight Stanley Cup Championship tonight in Montreal.
The win will surely put the Lightning in elite company. A win and the Lightning will cement their status as one of the best teams in NHL history.