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Lightning Round: Welcome to Title Bay, USA

The Buccaneers join the Lightning, Rays, and Rowdies as conference champions

NFL: OCT 04 Chargers at Buccaneers Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With their 31-26 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday the Tampa Bay Buccaneers became the latest team from the Tampa area to play for their league championship. The Bucs will take on the Kansas City Chiefs on February 7th (which also happens to be Lightning captain Steven Stamkos’ birthday) in hope of winning the Lombardi Trophy for the second time in franchise history.

The Lightning kicked off this title run in September when they beat the New York Islanders in the Eastern Conference Finals. They won their championship series against the Dallas Stars to clinch the Stanley Cup. In October the Tampa Bay Rowdies defeated Louisville City FC to claim the USL Eastern Conference Title. Unfortunately they weren’t able to take on Phoenix Rising FC for the championship due to a COVID outbreak that cancelled the series.

While the Rowdies were winning, so were the Tampa Bay Rays. Powered by the bat of Randy Arozarena they took down the Houston Astros in the American League Championship series. They ran out of gas against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series, losing in six games.

So for 2020-21 title season Tampa area teams are 1-1-1. If the Bucs win then the Tampa area would join Los Angeles as having won multiple titles this sports season (the Dodgers and Lakers are current champions). The last time one city had both the defending Stanley Cup champion and Super Bowl champion was in 2009 when the Steelers and Penguins accomplished the feat in Pittsburgh. The Steelers won their Super Bowl in...Tampa.

The Lightning were off on Sunday and able to enjoy the victory:

As of right now the Lightning are scheduled to be off on February 7th as they play Detroit at home on the 5th and then head to Nashville on the 8th. Could they make another appearance with the Stanley Cup at Raymond James to support the Bucs? Possibly.

Lightning News

The team acknowledged that Saturday’s performance against the Blue Jackets was not only the worst game they’ve played this season, but the worst since The Restart last summer. [NHL.com]

“I haven’t seen us play that poorly since before the pause, the first pause,” he said. “We weren’t in sync at all. Nobody really gave us much in the game, egregious turnovers, again, something that was not a trademark of ours anywhere in our playoff run.”

Chapter 56 in the Victor Hedman is Really Good at Hockey book. Seriously, this is a 6’6” defenseman pulling off this goal. Credit to Boone Jenner for breaking up the initial shot, which would have been a blast that might have knocked Elvis Merzlinkins into the net. Hedman never gives up and casually shoots it between his legs with his back to the net. Goal of the Year for the Lightning so far?

There won’t be fans at Syracuse Crunch games for the start of the AHL season. That doesn’t mean your face can’t make it to the Upstate Medical University Arena. For $40 you can have a cardboard cutout displayed during Crunch home games. [Syracuse.com]

The cutouts cost $40 and those orders and pictures submitted by Feb. 4 will be on display for all home games. All cutouts ordered after that date will be made and put on display as soon as possible.

After the season, the cutouts will be fans’ to keep. For an extra $10, fans will get their cutouts autographed by a few select players.

Hockey News

The hockey team in Chicago seems to be pretty good when they’re not playing the Lightning. With their win on Sunday they know have five points and are just one point out of first place in the central (granted the Lightning have two games in hand). Still, that’s better than expected, right? Pius Suter scored the first goal of his NHL career. He also scored his second and third. Not a bad night for the kid. [Second City Hockey]

Pierre-Luc Dubois talked to Sportsnet about the trade, The Shift, and moving on. [Sportsnet]

“I was doing the math earlier. I played almost 300 games, it’s almost 6,000 shifts in the NHL. So there’s a lot more than just the one shift,” Dubois said during his introductory Zoom call on Sunday. “It’s something that’s behind me and I’m just really excited to be here and be part of this team. This is a new chapter for me playing on this team.”

The NWHL season is under way in Lake Placid. Sunday was the second day of their season and all six teams were in action. Follow the action for free at twitch.tv/nwhl. They are off today, but return to action on Tuesday. For recaps and more information on the NWHL and women’s hockey in general head on over to The Ice Garden.