Tampa Bay Lightning strike twice in a year to claim back-to-back titles

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The Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Montreal Canadiens 1-0 to claim back-to-back NHL Stanley Cup titles.

Sparked by Ross Colton’s second period goal, the Lightning won the best-of-seven final series 4-1, giving them their third NHL title since joining the competition in 1992.

Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy made 22 saves to complete a series-ending shutout for an NHL-record fifth consecutive time, a run stretching back to the 2020 final.

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He rose to the occasion in a frantic finish in which Montreal peppered the goal but were repeatedly denied by the big Russian, who was named winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the playoffs.

With the Canadiens having won Game 4 by 3-2, Vasilevskiy remained unbeaten in matches following losses from the past two playoff series, both contested during the pandemic.

With Covid-19 having forced the rescheduling of last year’s finals, the win gave Tampa two Stanley Cup titles in just 10 months.

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This one at least was secured in front of 18,000 home fans, as opposed to last year when the decider was played in an empty arena.

“It’s unbelievable,” Lightning captain Steven Stamkos told ESPN.

“This group, to go back-to-back after everything we went through last year in the bubble, to go through this year, ups and downs, it’s amazing.”

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