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Lightning Round: Tampa Bay opens the Stanley Cup Final with a loss

“You have to have a short memory this time of year”

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2020 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game One - Dallas Stars v Tampa Bay Lightning Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Lightning failed to take a lead in the opening game of the Stanley Cup Final. The Dallas Stars dominated their opponent in the first half of the game, though the Lightning resurged in the third period, they couldn’t solve Anton Khudobin, who delivered another Conn Smythe-caliber performance.

Jon Cooper was obviously frustrated in the postgame press conference, he admitted that the Lightning made some errors in the first half of the game and said that the team “have to have a short memory this time of year“

Yanni Gourde and Ryan McDonagh agreed that the team should have the play the way they played in the third period the whole game

The Lightning beat reporter Joe Smite has also noted that more impact is expected from the Lightning power play units. The Bolts had three opportunities during the last 20 minutes of the game but went scoreless. Jon Cooper also acknowledged that the team created some momentum, but couldn’t score [The Athletic, paid content]

The Lightning had three power plays in the third period while trailing by two goals and couldn’t score. Did they have good looks? Sure. Did they create momentum? Yes. But looks and momentum don’t mean a ton of if a team doesn’t win. They don’t have Steven Stamkos, one of the best power-play weapons in all of hockey. But the unit still has too much talent, and has had a long enough time to adjust without the captain, to do better than 1-for-20 in their past seven games.

Check out the recap by our colleagues at Defending Big D blog to read some thoughts from a different perspective

Dallas played their style of hockey for the first 40 minutes. It was clear at the end of those 40 minutes, the Tampa Bay Lightning were frustrated. When the opponent came out in the third period and found their footing (thanks, in large part, to penalties they more than earned), the Stars did what they’ve done this entire postseason — they weathered the storm. They gave up the outside shots, but owned the high danger areas, not relenting often in that area in the face of Tampa’s counterattack.

The Tampa Bay Lightning will have a chance to tie the series on Monday, Game 2 is scheduled for 8:00 PM ET.

Other News and Notes

According to Gary Bettman, he wouldn’t be surprised if the start of next season, which was previously expected to start on December 1, will be postponed to the late December or even January.

Bettman also promised that the league will do their best to bring fans back to arenas, if they are able to provide required healthy conditions for them.

On Thursday the new season has started in Czech Extraliga, however two teams already were quarantined due to several positive COVID-19 tests.

The KHL, which season started a couple of weeks ago, has also faced some problems regarding COVID-19, some games were postponed and some teams have already returned from a 14-day quarantine.