The Tampa Bay Lightning and Dallas Stars are set to play in the Stanley Cup Final. The Lightning defeated the New York Islanders in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final. The Stars defeated the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final.
How Dallas Got to the Final
YOUR WESTERN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS! pic.twitter.com/77WXmIb632
— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) September 15, 2020
The Stars had to go through the Calgary Flames in six games, Colorado Avalanche in seven and the Golden Knights in five. The Stars were also one of the teams no one expected to make a run to the Cup Final.
They came back from deficits to win games by pressuring teams to force turnovers and play to their game. The Western Conference Champions are known to have a gritty styled defense with a quick paced offense. This can definitely be backed up by their performance in the WCF against the Golden Knights. Despite losing Game 2, the Stars never backed down and changed anything about their game. They simply made adjustments after Game 2 to conform to their style of hockey once they got Vegas out of their game.
In Game 5, Dallas were down 2-0 going into the third period but made a comeback from goals scored by captain Jamie Benn and forward Joel Kiviranta. Stars forward Denis Gurianov then finished the series off by scoring on a power play in overtime to send Dallas to the Final.
How Tampa Bay Got to the Final
BEASTS OF THE EAST. ⚡️ pic.twitter.com/Yg0ZLj3Mpr
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) September 18, 2020
The Lightning had to go through the Columbus Blue Jackets in five games, Boston Bruins also in five and the Islanders in six. This year was probably the team’s redemption year after being swept by the team they beat in the first round: the Blue Jackets.
Tampa Bay, so far, have played their entire postseason without their captain Steven Stamkos. Lightning forwards Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point have been carrying most of the load for the team throughout their run. Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy also has himself a good postseason run posting a .930 save percentage going into Game 6 against the Islanders.
Tampa Bay is similar to Vegas’ style of hockey: quick offense team that also has size throughout their four lines. The difference between both teams is how active all of their forwards are defensively though Vegas has Mark Stone. Tampa also has a strong forecheck that could help them win the board battles for puck possession.
And, that’s how they ultimately won the Eastern Conference championship.
Just like Game 5 between Dallas and Vegas, Tampa and New York went to overtime to determine a winner. The puck went to the end board on the Islanders’ offensive zone and both teams battled for puck possession. It would be Tampa who wins using their strong forechecking and Cirelli gets the puck to forward Barclay Goodrow. Goodrow then went behind the Islanders’ goal and made a centering pass back to Cirelli who scored the series-winning goal.
Who Will Win the Stanley Cup?
The Lightning will ultimately claim the Cup at the end. Talk about a tale of two years. Last year, Tampa got swept in the first round even though they were the league’s top team. And, there’s a great chance Tampa can redeem themselves with the players and goaltending they have. Also, they’re the top team favored to win the Cup in various betting lines. However, they did touch the Prince of Wales trophy which, in hockey tradition, is a curse to touch a Conference Final trophy before playing in the Stanley Cup Final. Will the curse continue and affect the Lightning’s chances of carrying Lord Stanley this season?
Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Lightning and Stars will begin on Sept. 19 at 7:30 p.m. EST on NBC.