'These are the games you live for' - Stamkos goals clinch series for Lightning

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos revelled in his side's 2-1 victory over the New York Rangers on Saturday, but insisted they will now face the best team in the NHL in the Stanley Cup Finals.

The Lightning will now face the Colorado Avalanche after winning Game 6 and the Eastern Conference finals on Saturday, with Stamkos scoring both goals.

The 32-year-old put the reigning Stanley Cup champions up half-way through the second period, but the game seemed headed for overtime after Frank Vatrano equalised during a power play in the third.

The Lightning captain responded with another goal almost straight from the restart, getting on the end of a Nikita Kucherov pass in space to put his side back in front, likening it to a dream scenario afterwards.

He is aware of what awaits in Tampa Bay's hopes for a third-straight Stanley Cup, however.

"These are the games you live for as a kid," Stamkos told ESPN post-game. "It was everything I thought it was going to be and more, to give ourselves a chance to go to the finals three years in a row is amazing.

"To have a part in it tonight was certainly icing on the cake. It was just an unbelievable team effort, we deserved this one and we got it.

"The hardest thing to do is to win the championship and this group has been in the trenches. We know what it takes, but now we've got the best team in the league in the Colorado Avalanche. They have it all, that's what teams aspire to be."

Sweeping the Florida Panthers in the second round, the Lightning had to tough it out against the Rangers after going down 2-0 in the series.

Claiming Game 5 in New York before closing the series out on Sunday, Stamkos praised his battle-hardened team's ability to stay calm in adversity against a tough opponent.

"We know we didn't play our best the first two," he said. "We had that long break and didn't want to use an excuse, and they [the Rangers] had a couple of hard-fought series. They were executing and we weren't.

"We stuck with it. There's no panic on this team and what an effort. Tonight was amazing. To rattle off four against that team at this time of the year, it's pretty impressive."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting