The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Montreal Canadiens in the first game of the Stanley Cup Final at Bell Centre and took a confident 3-0 lead in the series. The Lightning could clinch their second straight Stanley Cup as soon as on Monday. Justin had a recap of this game [Raw Charge]
Coming into Game Three, the Montreal Canadiens probably would have been ecstatic if they had been told they would put three pucks past Andrei Vasilevskiy. After being held to just two goals in the opening two games, three goals in one game would be considered an offensive explosion. It was, just not as big as the one the Tampa Bay Lightning had. Tyler Johnson scored twice while Jan Rutta, Victor Hedman, Nikita Kucherov, and Blake Coleman also found the back of the net for the Bolts in their 6-3 victory.
Nikita Kucherov added another assist and goal, joining an elite list of players with the most points over two consecutive postseasons and solidifying himself as the Conn Smythe favourite.
Only two players have led the Stanley Cup scoring race with a bigger margin than Kucherov, and he has potentially at least one game to increase that margin.
Only three players have led the playoff scoring race by nine or more points in the modern era:— #1 montreal canadiens fan (@domluszczyszyn) July 3, 2021
Wayne Gretzky (1985, 1988)
Mario Lemieux (1991)
Nikita Kucherov (2021)
Kucherov should be the Conn Smythe favourite: https://t.co/hNKofMiuaX
If you’re not tired of Tampa Bay’s record-breaking news, here’s another one: the Lightning are the most scoring team over the first three games of the Stanley Cup Final since the 1982 New York Islanders.
The @TBLightning have scored 14 goals through the first three games of the 2021 #StanleyCup Final. Only four teams have more in the NHL's modern era (since 1943-44).#NHLStats: https://t.co/PzN49t8NdN pic.twitter.com/SRmxQwsdnq— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) July 3, 2021
That was also the first game in July in NHL history. Jan Rutta became the first-ever player to score in July, while Victor Hedman was the first player to score a goal in 12 different calendar months.
After scoring two goals Tyler Johnson was named first star of the game. Given the current circumstances where the Lightning are facing serious cap issues, Tyler Johnson might be playing his last games in the Lightning jersey, which makes these moments even more special.
Jon Cooper showing his appreciation for Tyler Johnson in his post-game comments, mentions the two have been together for 10 years now, which Cooper says sounds crazy saying out loud. "I'm extremely happy with the win. I might be happier for Tyler Johnson." #Bolts #TBLvsMTL— Bryan Burns (@BBurnsNHL) July 3, 2021
Jon Cooper also reflected on the current Stanley Cup run, comparing it with the last year: “We don’t know what our team is going to look like next year. Some crazy circumstances had to happen for this team to stay together.”
Jon Cooper talks after the @TBLightning 6-3 win in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final about Tyler Johnson, the defense impacting the offense, the team's mentality and more! #GoBolts #NHLPlayoffs #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/9sLx7elJNT— Bally Sports Florida & Bally Sports Sun (@BallySportsFL) July 3, 2021
Game Four is scheduled for 8:00 PM ET on next Monday at Bell Centre, Montreal. Some old friends will be present at the game.
I'll be in the building on Monday.— The Stanley Cup (@StanleyCup) July 3, 2021
The Minnesota Wild have signed an eight-year extension with forward Joel Eriksson Ek.
The Edmonton Oilers are reportedly open to acquiring Duncan Keith if the Chicago Blackhawks are willing to retain a portion of Keith's salary or take one of Edmonton's "bad" contracts in a potential deal.— theScore (@theScore) July 3, 2021
Should Chicago do it? https://t.co/Ykg2GzAlj9 pic.twitter.com/hEUD32swhs