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Lightning Round: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Dallas Stars, Stanley Cup Final schedule

Good morning, Eastern Conference Champion fans.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Tampa Bay Lightning at New York Islanders Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL has it’s worst-case TV ratings scenario handed to it on a platter: an entirely southern Stanley Cup Final. We hope to prove them wrong, however, and show them exactly how strong Southern hockey fandom can be. After the Tampa Bay Lightning won a 2-1 match in overtime in game six off an Anthony Cirelli goal, they are GOING TO THE CUP FINAL to meet the Dallas Stars.

Here is the schedule. Tampa ended higher in seeding, and so is the defacto “home team” for bubble playoffs. Please note we have a Friday-Saturday back to back to avoid football. Will we actually see Curtis McElhinney on the ice in Game 4? (Yeah, probably not.)

Here’s ESPN’s predictions for the Cup round.

2020 Stanley Cup Final: Predictions, stats, schedule for Dallas Stars-Tampa Bay Lightning [ESPN]

As Brad Marchand of the Bruins summed it up last month (shortly before Tampa Bay knocked out Boston): “They have a bit of a different makeup now; they compete a lot harder. They are a lot more physical and, obviously, they have a ton of talent. They’re very fast, have a great goalie, they have everything.”

Just in case you were concerned about the team touching the Prince of Wales:

Justing broke down the good, the bad, and the overtime in last night’s Eastern Conference Final: Quick Cap: Anthony Cirelli’s overtime goal sends the Lightning to the Stanley Cup [Raw Charge]

Then things got crazy.

Anthony Cirelli scored the biggest goal of his young career. Barclay Goodrow fought through a check and controlled the puck behind the Islanders net and threw it in front. CIrelli fought and pushed the puck to the far side, off the post, and into the net behind Varly. A pause....longer....then the ref pointed at the goal.

Here’s one angle on the Cirelli goal:

Another angle on the goal:

Question, if he’s not traded due to cap crunch, is Cirelli the next captain of the Lightning after Steven Stamkos retires?

This Oshawa Generals scout thinks so:

And here’s the celebration:

Here’s the perspective from the losing side. Lightning 2, Islanders 1 (OT): Fluky Cirelli goal sends Isles home in Game 6 [Lighthousehockey]

Not scoring on that power play proved to be fatal, as not long after it ended, the Lightning got a little bit of zone time. Barclay Goodrow had the puck behind the net and Cirelli, of course, sneaked away from Barzal to get open. He fired a shot past Varlamov that went off the post and rode the goal line without going in. But it rode all the way to Varlamov’s left skate, ticking off of it and just crossing over the goal line. Game and series.

The Lightning are the Eastern Conference Champions and going to the Stanley Cup Final. The Islanders, though, showed us something they, as a franchise, hadn’t done in way too long. Once again, what a run, and I’m so thankful for it.

News about injuries is slowly trickling out: Adam Pelech’s absence felt in Islanders’ Game 6 loss [NY Post]

“He got hurt real early in the last game, he played on adrenaline, got through it, and there was no way he could play [Thursday],” Trotz said. “And there’s going to be surgery involved.”

And Leo Komarov had the best news in the world to offset his team’s loss:

OK back to our side.

I think I’ll end here today.

Y’all, we’re GOING TO THE CUP!