Your 2020 Stanley Cup Champs: Tampa Bay Lightning*

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The final time the Tampa Bay Lightning received the Stanley Cup, we had no concept once we’d see hockey once more. Sixteen years later, the Lightning are as soon as once more champions and once more we don’t know when hockey will return. So relying on how a lot COVID-19 performs havoc with the world over the following couple of months, the Lightning have an opportunity at one other lengthy Stanley Cup reign.And that’s completely becoming, as a result of the Stanley Cup they received was probably the most tough to win within the historical past of the sport. And that’s why it deserves an asterisk. It’s why the Tampa Bay Lightning can depart the bubble in Edmonton with probably the most lovely trophy in sports activities with their heads held excessive, understanding they earned each one among its 34.5 kilos after which some.Three-hundred-seventy-seven days after they began their 2019-20 season with a 3-Zero pre-season loss to the Carolina Hurricanes at Amalie Enviornment, 9 weeks and two days after they had been sequestered within the NHL’s Toronto bubble, 17 months after they had been humiliated in a first-round sweep within the 2019 playoffs, the Lightning ended probably the most weird and arduous Stanley Cup match in historical past. Alongside the way in which, they overcame a so-so begin, performed two video games in Europe, received 10 straight video games and misplaced simply two in regulation in a stretch of 26. And so they performed extra additional time within the playoffs than any staff in NHL historical past. They ran the desk within the playoffs regardless of getting simply 2:47 in ice time from one of the crucial dynamic aim scorers of his period. Their goalie performed each second of each recreation. They modified their identification, made daring strikes on the commerce deadline and methodically dismantled every of their 4 opponents within the playoffs. They didn’t lose two consecutive video games within the post-season.Does any of this occur if the Lightning don’t endure the intestine punch of all intestine punches courtesy of the Columbus Blue Jackets final season? Most likely not. Historical past tells us that each one nice groups want that type of demoralizing setback with a purpose to turn out to be champions. The Lightning had been no exception. And now that they’ve had their second of redemption, there’s no telling what this gifted, younger, deep and well-run group is able to engaging in.“There are some gifted individuals, I suppose, that success finds them immediately,” stated Lightning coach Jon Cooper. “However in a staff sport, I really imagine that in failure, you need to really feel it earlier than you possibly can have success. I suppose there are some blessed ones who don’t should undergo that, however you put on the bumps, you put on the bruises, you put on the heartache, you put on it in your sleeve and it retains you up at evening. Nevertheless it additionally drives you and the worry of dropping virtually turns into higher than the enjoyment of profitable. And we weren’t going to be denied.”No, they weren’t. And that’s as a result of they Tampa Bay Lightning had been just too good, too gifted and too well-run from the highest right down to not win a Stanley Cup in some unspecified time in the future. However expertise alone doesn’t win and the Lightning needed to sit again and remake themselves after final season. They needed to turn out to be extra boring, to be frank, and that was no extra evident that within the clinching 2-Zero win over the Dallas Stars by which they gave their opponent virtually nothing. It was not enjoyable to look at. Nevertheless it was what it took to win.“The gamers took it on the chin,” Cooper stated of final yr’s humiliation. “And I can’t be happier for these guys as a result of they deserve it. These guys have gone by means of a lot heartache and to return again yr after yr and take our swings and take our licks…talked about because the staff that may’t get it achieved. Nicely, you realize what? We obtained it achieved.”It should come as no solace to the Blue Jackets and for positive won’t wipe the scowl off coach John Tortorella’s face – bear in mind when he coached the Lightning to their first Stanley Cup in 2004? – however they had been a serious a part of the this win, from the sweep final yr to the five-overtime recreation the Lightning took in Sport 1 of the primary spherical of the playoffs.“That may have turned the tables for us,” Cooper stated. “As a result of if we don’t win that recreation, unexpectedly doubt creeps in. We’ve got a fairly resilient group, however it’s essential to see some form of success. You want to really feel it, it’s essential to style it. If we don’t win that recreation, who is aware of? Columbus may be in our head, however once we received that recreation, I believe that was a catapult to the place we at the moment are.”And there’s no extra deserving a Stanley Cup champion than the 2019-20 Tampa Bay Lightning. “Proper from Day 1, we had been targeted and dialed (in) and on a mission,” stated Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh. “Now we will say, ‘Mission Completed,’ which is a fairly unbelievable feeling.”

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