This is not an obituary of the 2014-15 Tampa Bay Lightning. There will be time for that in the days ahead. This is merely a recap of the game that happened to end that season.
If it's possible for two teams to play absolutely great and yet for one of them to just not be quite good enough, that was the Tampa Bay Lightning in this game and this series. They had plenty of opportunities to score, win this game and even the series for a Game 7 back in Tampa but were simply unable to convert when it was necessary. Again, that's the story of the series as well as the game, a series whose games were all tightly contested with a razor thin margin separating success from failure.
The first goal, and eventual game winner came at 17:13 of the second, courtesy of Duncan Keith, who redefined the term "iron man" throughout the postseason, with assists going to Patrick Kane and Brad Richards.
The dagger came at 5:14 of the third when Kane scored with help from Richards and Brandon Saad.
The beleaguered Ben Bishop started in net for the Lightning and gave it a valiant try, stopping 30 of 32 shots, coming up absolutely huge more than once to keep things close.
What to make of this series? It could have been over in four, to either side. It could have also easily gone seven. And it could be said that whoever the loser was when it was all over would be able to proclaim that they deserved a better fate and they would have been right. That's not the way championships work though. So be it. Congratulations to the Blackhawks and the city of Chicago and wait 'til next year (which should be awesome), Bolts fans.
Okay, maybe this was kind of an obituary.
- This was the only game of the series decided by more than one goal.
- The Lightning finish on a three-game losing streak, their first time losing three in a row since March 6-10 of the 2013-14 season
- Prior to tonight, the Lightning hadn't been shut out since Game 5 against the Detroit Red Wings.
- Almost 17,000 were estimated to be in attendance at a watch party inside Amalie Arena.