The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Montreal Canadiens by a score of 1-0 in Game 5 to win the Stanley Cup for the second straight year. They are the second team since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and 1998 to win back-to-back Stanley Cup Championships. The Lightning are the first since the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016 and 2017 to do so. Andrei Vasilevskiy again just adds to his career coming up with the goods in yet another closeout game recording 22 saves. Ross Colton scored the game-winning and Stanley Cup-clinching goal in the second period as the Lightning lift the Stanley Cup once again.
Tampa Bay Lightning Win Stanley Cup
Canadiens Survive Lightning Onslaught
The Lightning came out as they did in Game 4 looking to end the game and series early. They outshot the Canadiens 13-4 in the first period, and it was only the play of Carey Price that kept this a scoreless game after 20 minutes. The Lightning’s third line of Blake Coleman, Barclay Goodrow, and Yanni Gourde had numerous scoring opportunities including two shorthanded. Montreal could not generate much offensively. And when the Canadiens did create opportunities Andrei Vasilevskiy was there to make the saves. Coming into Game 5, the Canadiens needed to avoid the penalty box and turnovers. Neither of which happened in the first period. But again Price is the reason why this game is scoreless. With Tampa Bay controlling play and knowing the importance of the first goal, Price had to be perfect which he was in the first period. Somehow the Canadiens were able to keep the game scoreless.
Lightning Strike First
However, the game would not remain scoreless. The Canadiens had two good looks on a struggling power play thanks to youngster Cole Caufield. As the Canadiens could not capitalize, the Lightning did after building momentum after back-to-back hard shifts back the third and fourth line. And that is normally how it happens. When a chance on one end does not go in that usually leads to a goal at the other end. And that is exactly what happened as Ross Colton gave the Lightning a 1-0 lead.
Again the Canadiens failed to clear the puck out of the zone leading to a heads-up play by Ryan McDonagh to keep the puck inside the Canadiens zone. McDonagh gets the puck over to David Savard who finds Colton backdoor. The Lightning continued their attack inside the Canadiens trying to increase their lead. Late in the period, Vasilevskiy came up with another huge save as Shea Weber found Arturri Lehkonen in the slot to keep the Lightning lead at 1-0.
Vasilevskiy Seals The Deal In The Third Period
The Lightning continued their attack into the third period. Price again came up with two huge saves to keep it a one-goal game stopping Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat. After the Canadiens killed off another Lightning power play, they went on the offensive. However, Vasilevskiy was equal to the task. Early in period three, Vasilevskiy robs Josh Anderson going in a breakaway to keep it 1-0 Lightning. Something about Vasilevskiy and close-out games. The Canadiens continued to generate offence but could not get many chances in front of Vasilevskiy as the Lightning players were selling out to block shots. Tampa Bay was continuously on the attack in the third period just looking for one more goal to seal the deal. The Lightning smothered the Canadiens not allowing them much as Vasilevskiy stopped the shots he needed to especially on Tyler Toffoli late in the third period as the Lightning win back-to-back Stanley Cup championships.
Note: Andrei Vasilevskiy won the Conn Smythe Trophy as Playoff MVP. In five consecutive closeout games, Vasilevskiy posted five shutouts.
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