© Reuters. Jul 7, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; The Tampa Bay Lightning pose with the Stanley Cup after defeating the Montreal Canadiens 1-0 in sport 5 of the 2021 Stanley Cup Last at Amalie Enviornment. Obligatory Credit score: Bruce Bennett/Pool Picture-USA TODAY Sports activities
By Frank Pingue
(Reuters) -The Tampa Bay Lightning grew to become solely the third back-to-back Stanley Cup champions within the final quarter of a century with a 1-0 win over the visiting Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday.
The Lightning clinched the best-of-seven collection 4-1 in entrance of a packed enviornment to finish a magical run by Montreal, who have been Canada’s newest hope of ending the ice hockey-mad nation’s longest Stanley Cup drought.
No Canada-based staff has received the Cup since Montreal in 1993.
In contrast to final yr, when Tampa Bay received the Cup with out followers current contained in the NHL’s biosecure bubble in Edmonton, they didn’t squander an opportunity to shut out the collection in entrance of their boisterous supporters.
“To do that in entrance of our followers and our household, we did not get an opportunity to do this final yr,” stated Lightning captain Steven Stamkos. “That was big motivation for this group.
“It does not take something away from final yr, however to do it once more is simply validation into historical past. This group completed one thing that not many individuals although might occur.”
Tampa Bay scored the sport’s solely purpose with underneath seven minutes left within the second interval when David Savard discovered rookie Ross Colton on the high of the crease with a tape-to-tape cross that slid underneath the stick of Montreal defenseman Ben Chiarot.
From there, Andrei Vasilevskiy stood tall within the Tampa Bay web and completed the sport with 22 saves, together with a handful throughout a frantic closing minute, for his fifth shutout of the 2021 postseason and fourth in a series-clinching sport.
Vasilevskiy, who was mobbed in entrance of his web by staff mates when the ultimate buzzer sounded, was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy because the Most Worthwhile Participant of the playoffs.
“Full enviornment, unbelievable vitality and one other championship in Tampa,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman stated to the gang of over 17,000 earlier than presenting the Stanley Cup to Stamkos. “It seems like issues are regular.”
The outcome ended an surprising playoff run by an upstart Montreal staff that defied the chances all season regardless of accidents, a COVID-19 outbreak and a lacklustre common season that left them a 50-to-1 longshot when the playoffs started in mid-Might.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated on Twitter: “You’ve got stored us on the sting of our seats throughout these playoffs – and we won’t wait to see you right here once more subsequent yr.”
Montreal, who relied on a sizzling goalie in Carey Value throughout three playoff rounds to achieve the Stanley Cup remaining, had staved off elimination 4 instances within the postseason however they lacked the offensive punch to maintain their Cinderella run alive.
The Canadiens pulled Value, who stopped 29 pictures, from the web within the remaining moments so they might put an additional attacker on the ice however the Lightning stood agency.
“Clearly this group has loads of character and went up towards loads of adversity this yr and we proved lots of people incorrect,” stated Montreal captain Shea Weber.
“And in a troublesome yr besides the place issues weren’t regular, and guys caught collectively and battled exhausting and clearly I would not change it for something and I’m tremendous happy with these guys.”
Issues regarded bleak for Montreal after they fell behind 3-0 within the collection. Of the 27 earlier groups to fall behind 3-0 within the Stanley Cup Last collection solely the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs fought again to win.
However Montreal, who boast a mixture of youth and expertise and gamers who seem dedicated to one another, by no means counted themselves out.
“Each single man gave all the things they’d each single evening,” stated Canadiens ahead Brendan Gallagher.
“You have a look at our group and, clearly, there’s much more proficient groups and there is loads of groups that do loads of issues, however there is not any staff that is stronger as a gaggle and the resiliency that we confirmed. Only a good staff to be part of.”