The Lightning won 1-0 last night on home ice to secure the 2021 Stanley Cup trophy which makes them the first team to go back-to-back since the Penguins did it in 2016-2017. Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy won the Conn Smythe trophy which is the MVP of the postseason. In each closing game of all 4 series that the Lightning played in, Vasilevskiy posted a shutout which is remarkable. In Game 5 of the Finals, Vasilevskiy stopped all 22 shots that the Canadiens put on him and kept his team in it. Vasilevskiy is just the 2nd goaltender to play in every game of the postseason in both of the back-to-back Stanley Cup runs. He joins Ken Dryden in that elite company. He’s also the first goalie to win the Conn Smythe trophy since Jonathan Quick won it back in 2012 with the LA Kings. Last night marked the 15th consecutive time that the Lightning followed a loss with a win in the postseason. It’s the ultimate need if you’re going to have success in the NHL Playoffs.
Forward Nikita Kucherov also had a stellar postseason. He led the whole league in points in the postseason with 32 (8 goals, 24 assists) after missing the full regular season with a hip injury. Kucherov joins Mario Lemieux as the only player to lead the league in postseason points in back-to-back seasons. He’s also racked up 66 points over the past 2 postseasons which is tied for 5th overall with regards to point totals in consecutive playoffs. Only Wayne Gretzy and Mario Lemieux have tallied up more in consecutive postseasons.
Lightning player Pat Maroon has now won his 3rd straight Stanley Cup! He was with the Blues in 2019 when they beat Boston, and then he was ultimately traded to Tampa where they’ve won the past two Cups. Maroon becomes just the 4th player of all time to win the Stanley Cup in 3 straight years with 2 different teams.
So, what’s next for the Lightning….could they “3 peat” or will this be their last summer with the Cup for a while. If they keep this core group of guys around, I don’t see why they won’t be competing for it again next year.