Channeling the University of Virginia of 2019, this year’s Tampa Bay Lightning are world champions.
After downing the Dallas Stars in six games, Tampa Bay secured it’s second Stanley Cup in franchise history.
The transition from suffering a once-in-a-lifetime defeat to climbing the mountain top as champs has been realized for head coach Jon Cooper and his team.
In doing so, the team became the first in any of the four North American professional sports leagues to be crowned champions during the coronavirus pandemic.
Not only does it mark the second cup for the Tampa Bay franchise and it’s first since 2004. The team was 0-8 in playoff appearances in between.
Defenseman Victor Hedman was named the MVP and awarded the Conn Smythe trophy after spending his entire 11-year career in Tampa.
He scored seven of his 21 postseason points in the finals, including 10 goals during the Lightning’s title run.
Hedman had 11 goals during all of the regular season.
Tampa Bay beat No. 7 Columbus in five, No. 4 Boston in four and the New York Islanders in six before reaching the Stanley Cup Finals.
They were met by a Dallas team that had conquered No. 6 Calgary in six, No. 2 Colorado in seven and No. 1 Vegas in five.
Riding a hot streak, the Stars got the best of the Lightning in game one stealing it 4-1 after it was tied 1-1 at the end of the first period.
Despite losing the game, Tampa still won the shots on goals matchup 36-20.
The Lightning bounced back to win the next three games including an overtime win in game four.
In game two, Tampa Bay came out firing and led 3-0 after the first five minutes of the game and would win 3-2.
Game three saw the Lightning with a 5-1 advantage heading to the third period.
In game four, it was defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk’s goal in overtime that ended it.
There were two overtime periods necessary in game five, in which Dallas needed a second goal from Corey Perry to secure the win.
Needing a win to secure the cup, Tampa Bay turned in its first shutout of the postseason.
The Lightning’s Brayden Pont’s goal with 12:23 left in the first period would start the scoring. Tampa added another goal in the second period.
Point scored five of his 14 postseason goals in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Upon the celebration, there was an emotional cup hoist for captain Steven Stamkos who was ruled “unfit to play” after last playing in late February.
Stamkos shocked many when he played for a brief moment in game three and even lit the lamp for his first goal in the postseason since game four of the first round last year.
This year’s Lightning team didn’t lose back-to-back games all postseason.