Lightning strikes twice: Tampa Bay wins second straight Stanley Cup

TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Lightning became the first team since 2017 to win back-to-back Stanley Cup titles, defeating the Montreal Canadiens 1-0 in Game 5 of the Finals on Wednesday night.

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The victory at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida, allowed the Lightning to become the first team since the 2016-2017 Pittsburgh Penguins to win Lord Stanley’s Cup in two consecutive seasons.

The Lightning became the first home team to raise the Stanley Cup since 2015, when they lost to the Blackhawks in Chicago.

It was the third Stanley Cup in franchise history for Tampa Bay, and the first on home ice after winning last season’s in the “bubble” in Edmonton, ESPN reported. The Lightning also won the Stanley Cup in a seven-game series in 2004.

Ross Colton scored with 6:33 left in the second period to give Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead. David Savard and Ryan McDonagh assisted on the play as Colton beat Montreal goalie Carey Price to score his fourth goal of the postseason.

Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy had a series-ending shutout for an NHL-record fifth consecutive time dating to the 2020 Stanley Cup final. Vasilevskiy made 22 saves to go 15-0 in games after a loss over the past two postseasons.

Vasilevskiy won the Conn Smythe Trophy, awarded to the most valuable player of the NHL postseason.

“It’s unbelievable,” captain Steven Stamkos said. “This group, to go back to back after everything we went through last year in the bubble, to go through this year’s ups and downs, it’s amazing.”

Tampa Bay raced out to a 3-0 series lead, but the Canadiens forced a return to Florida after winning in overtime in Game 4 in Montreal. Tampa Bay is now 15-0 in the playoffs after a loss since the opening round of the 2020 tournament.

“To do it in front of our fans and our families, it’s so special, special,” defenseman Victor Hedman told reporters. “It’s out of this world. Winning a Stanley Cup is one thing. But doing it in front of our fans, family means the world.”

Nikita Kucherov had 32 points to join Mario Lemieux as the only players to lead the postseason in scoring two years in a row, according to The Associated Press. Brayden Point scored 14 goals during the 2021 postseason.