Ross Colton’s first goal of the 2020-21 hockey season came on February 10th in Rochester in a 4-3 overtime loss for the Syracuse Crunch. His final goal of the 2020-21 season came in Tampa om July 7th and it was the only goal the Lightning needed as Andrei Vasilevskiy made 22 saves in the Lightning’s 1-0 victory in Game Five of the Stanley Cup Final.
With the win, the Lightning became the first team to win back-to-back Stanley Cups since the Pittsburgh Penguins did it in 2016 and 2017. Vasilevskiy, who was named the Conn Smythe Trophy winner, set a league record by posting his fifth straight series clinching shutout.
After a grinding first thee minutes of the first period, the Lightning’s fourth line drew a penalty and the power play unit went back on the ice seeking redemption after the debacle at the end of Game Four. Despite a couple of good looks (Brayden Point all alone in front of the net had the puck skitter off into the corner) they couldn’t score. Their best chance came just after it expired when Pat Maroon deflected a shot from Ondrej Palat that almost snuck under Price’s pad.
Jan Rutta, what are you doing? He buried Artturi Lehkonen with a cross check well away from the Lightning net (as well as the puck). Montreal, who hadn’t really generated much at even strength had a chance with the extra skater. The first minute was a bit of a mess for them as Blake Coleman generated a few shorthanded chances and then Ryan McDonagh ran amuck for a bit, toe-dragging around players and then laying hits on them.
Well behind the play, Erik Cernak shoved Corey Perry and Perry went to the ice like it was his first day on skates. Interference for Cernak and embellishment for Perry. Then Josh Anderson hooked Coleman shortly after. So many penalties.
So few goals. Neither team scored with their truncated advantages and things went back to even strength. The two teams traded close chances as Vasilevskiy was forced to make a difficult save on a deflection off of his own teammate’s skate while Tyler Johnson sent one off of the crossbar on the counter-rush.
The first period had a similar feel to Game Four’s but Montreal wasn’t able to sneak a goal past Vasilevskiy. The Lightning played one of their more physical periods of the series as they laid 25 hits on the Habs. The refs were letting a lot of things go, so the Bolts were more than happy to take advantage of the relaxed rules. There was a feel to their play that they were laying hits to try and wear down Montreal, much like a boxer focuses on body shots early in a fight to weaken his opponent.
It had been awhile since someone sat in the penalty box so David Savard flung a puck into the stands to begin the second period. Things went better for Montreal, in the sense they didn’t give up any shorthanded chances, but they also didn’t really generate any offense at all. They did get a couple of chances shortly after, but Vasilevskiy flashed the pads on back-to-back shots to keep the puck out.
Dave Mishkin calls two big saves by Vasilevskiy on Chiarot and Lehkonen #GoBolts #TBLvsMTL #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/TyNcYtFqrV— Bucs Rays Bolts (@BucsRaysBoltsYT) July 8, 2021
The Lightning kept generating chances at even strength but the pucks seemed just out of reach for deflections or fluttered just wide. Another power play for Montreal went by the wayside, but they did get a few actual looks at the net (including a shot off the post). The Canadiens gained a little momentum off of the power play and spent some time in the Lightning shot, but the Bolts took a page out of their book and found the back of the net first.
On a team with Brayden Point, Nikita Kucherov, and Steven Stamkos, it was rookie Ross Colton who put them in the lead. It wasn’t with a dazzling move, just a simple play - get to the front of the net. McDonagh worked it over to Savard who fed it to the Colton who had inside position on Joel Edmondsson in front of Price and all the youngster had to do was put his stick on the ice and deflect it home.
Ross Colton (David Savard, Ryan McDonagh)
Ross Colton opens the scoring #GoBolts pic.twitter.com/GQm10V2Ev3— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) July 8, 2021
Not sure what happened in the period after that. Kind of blacked out a little for a few minutes. I do know that the Lightning ended yet another period with a power play. They start the third period with an extra skater and a clean sheet of ice.
Instead of a coherent recap of the third period, here are the notes as I typed them.
No goal on the power play, but two minutes off the clock.
Palat with a chance off of a scramble around the net. Shoots it right into Price’s pad.
Josh Anderson with a quasi-breakaway that Vasy stones and Anderson collides awkwardly with the post.
Point tries to pick off a pass a the Lightning blueline. He missed, but the puck hit the linesman and stopped. Nice break for the Bolts.
Still 14 minutes to go...seriously?
Nice shift for the top line, McD rips it just wide. C’mon!
Nice job by Rutta to shut off the Canadiens forward behind the net and the Bolts clear. Big type of play to eliminate the forecheck.
Goaltenders hopping up off the ice with both skates will never not be funny.
Gourde with a hit on Suzuki after Price freezes the puck. Then he skates away. Must be low on his hit quota.
Only 2 shots for Montreal through the first 10 minutes. Solid play in the neutral zone by the Lightning. Other than the Anderson breakaway, Montreal hasn’t been able to get behind the defense.
That Suzuki line is a giant P.I.T.A
Darn...good coverage by the Montreal d to keep Point from sending Kucherov in alone. Goodrow with a huge block. Montreal is getting desperate.
Barclay Goodrow blocked a Shea Weber shot pic.twitter.com/EWnS3zCAXr— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) July 8, 2021
Six minutes to go.
Only breathing when the puck clears the Lightning zone....
Top line keeps puck in Montreal zone for the entire shift. Eat up that clock.
GET IT OUTTTT
There goes Price.
Offside by the Canadiens. Price back in the net. No timeout. There goes Price again. McDonagh clears it for an icing. I’ll take 75 of those at this point.
Face-off win by Bolts and cleared...eventually.
Save Vasy with a minute to go.
Block by Goodrow and cleared
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The Tampa Bay Lightning are Stanley Cup champions!
The Tampa Bay Lightning are back-to-back champions #GoBolts pic.twitter.com/gmHeY9jW3v— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) July 8, 2021