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Lightning Round: Tampa Bay's record in the Stanley Cup Final

And the NHL’s toxic culture of pain.

Lightning v Flames, Game 6
CALGARY, AB - JUNE 5: Center Vincent Lecavalier #4 of the Tampa Bay Lightning and his teammate defenseman Pavel Kubina #13 celebrate in Game six of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals against the Calgary Flames at the Pengrowth Saddledome on June 5, 2004 in Calgary, Canada. The Lightning defeated the Flames 3-2 in overtime.
Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images

After two games of the 2020 Stanley Cup Final, things are surprisingly looking the same as the playoff runs in 2004 and 2015. Like in both of those years, the Tampa Bay Lightning have lost the first game of the series and won the second on the bounce. The series is tied 1-1 and we're now at a point where anything can happen.

Let's break it down:

Bolts Franchise Record in the Stanley Cup Final

Game 1: 0-3
Game 2: 3-0
Game 3: 1-1
Game 4: 1-1
Game 5: 0-2
Game 6: 1-1 (unless you're a Calgary Flames fan, then it's 0-2)
Game 7: 1-0 (Undefeated!)

I genuinely laughed out loud when I learned that the Lightning have started all three Stanley Cup Finals the same way, regardless of whether it was against the Flames, Chicago, or the Dallas Stars. Each and every time they've lost the first game and come back and won the second. From here is where things get different, historically speaking.

The Lightning have had home ice advantage in all three Cup Finals they've played in and they were able to split both Chicago and Calgary in the second leg of the series, splitting Games 3 and 4 to both teams.

The Lightning have lost both Game 5s they’ve been in, which is not a good sign. They also lost Game 5 against the New York Islanders in the Conference Finals this year after losing Brayden Point for that game. There’s speculation that Steven Stamkos might get in a game at the tail end of the playoffs. Games 4 and 5 are a back-to-back, so there’s a chance Stamkos plays in one of those two games if he’s healthy. He could be a big factor if it comes to a Game 7 (where the Lightning are undefeated).

Stars Franchise Record in the Stanley Cup Final

Game 1: 2-3
Game 2: 2-3
Game 3: 2-2
Game 4: 1-3
Game 5: 2-2
Game 6: 1-2
Game 7: 0-0

The Stars have been to the Stanley Cup Finals four times in their history before this year. Twice as the Minnesota North Stars (never winning the Cup), and in back-to-back seasons in 1999 and 2000 as the Stars, winning in six games in ‘99.

This has no predictive properties to this, none of the teams then are the same now, but it’s nice to think back when history repeats itself.

Getting a little closer to reality, here’s how the two teams have fared in these playoffs, particularly in the third and fourth games of their series before the Finals. The Stars have split Games 3 and 4 against the Flames and Avalanche, and won both games against the Golden Knights. For the Lightning, they lost Game 3 to the Islanders, but have been perfect in the second stint against Columbus and Boston before disposing them in five games.

Here’s to a Game 3 win tonight, it only gets harder from there!

Lightning Links

TSN released an in-depth documentary about the culture of pain in hockey.

ON THE SAME DAY!!! The NHL social media team published a heavily-produced video glorifying injuries. It perpetuates the culture of getting injured to block shots, hiding injuries, and looking tough in spite of pain. It was disgusting and I’m still shocked it hasn’t been deleted yet.

AGAIN ON THE SAME DAY!!! ESPN published stories from nine anonymous NHL players who lived in the playoff bubbles. They talked about the quality of the bubble not being what was promised, and the genuine isolation players felt. It mostly sounds like players sat in their rooms and chewed weed gummies on their off nights. It was a really depressing (and eye-opening) read.

The Coyotes fired their director of amateur scouting, Lindsay Hofford, for “culture change” reasons. Hofford was previously fired by the Maple Leafs after getting charged with a DUI in a “golf cart incident at amusement park.”

The KHL isn’t doing too hot right now when it comes to playing a regular season free of COVID-19. Seemingly the entire Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team has the virus and had to eventually forfeit their game that night. Russia and the KHL has largely pretended the pandemic doesn’t exist and isn’t doing nearly anything at all to stop the spread around the league. Business as usual.