It was a year ago today that the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Dallas Stars in Game Two of the 2020 Stanley Cup Final. A three-goals-in-four-minutes outburst in the first period held up as they won the game, 3-2 (“Corey Perry doing Corey Perry things” hits a little different these days). Brayden Point, Ondrej Palat, and Kevin Shattenkirk provided the offense while Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 27 of 29, including a stellar second period where Dallas fired 18 shots at him and only one slipped by.
The game was pretty brutal with both sides dishing out big hits on big players, but the Lightning’s ability to convert on two power plays was the difference in the game. It was also the game where the Lightning showed they weren’t going to be pushed around by the Stars. They took the hits and dished out plenty in return. Despite seeing their three-goal lead get trimmed to one, they maintained their composure in the third period and held off the Stars. You could feel that this team had it in them to win the Cup.
The win evened the series at one game a piece and continued the Lightning’s streak of following up a loss with a win - a streak they continued into this season. They would go on to win the next two games as well, building a commanding 3-1 lead in the series. While Dallas would force a Game Six, the Lightning were well on their way to winning their first Stanley Cup since 2004.
Lightning / NHL News
Gage Goncalves is in the 13th spot of our Top 25 Under 25 list. Overage Gage will be one of the youngsters joining the Crunch this season. [Raw Charge]
While it was a busy offseason for Steven Stamkos, at least it wasn’t spent rehabbing an injury. That means he should be 100% heading into the season for the first time in a while. That could be bad news for opposing goaltenders. He talked with Joe Smith about the summer, the Olympics, and running things back for a third straight Stanley Cup. [The Athletic - subscription required]
The Hockey News takes a look at the length of Stanley Cup windows for teams in the Atlantic Division. The Lightning fall into the “wide open” category. [The Hockey News/SI]
The two-time defending champs have been weakened, no doubt. Their third line of Blake Coleman, Yanni Gourde and Barclay Goodrow played a crucial role in the Lightning’s consecutive Cup conquests, and all three play for new teams now, as does the versatile if overpriced Tyler Johnson. But the core pieces of Tampa’s powerhouse remain.
Last spring, with the Montreal Canadiens chasing a playoff spot, Jonathan Drouin took an indefinite leave from the team. While the team confirmed it was for personal reasons, they wouldn’t divulge any further details. On Monday, Drouin spoke about the leave and explained that he had dealt with anxiety and insomnia issues for years and that he needed to walk way from the game he loved in order to enjoy life again. He is ready to rejoin the team and continue his career. [Montreal Gazette]
Travis Zajac signed a one-day contract with the New Jersey Devils and then promptly retired. He played in over 1,000 games with the Devils before joining the New York Islanders for their playoff run last season. [All About the Jersey]
The Restricted Free Agent list is dwindling as camps prepare to open across the continent. In Vegas, newly acquired forward Nolan Patrick signed a two-year, $1.2 million AAV contract with the Golden Knights. Meanwhile the Boston Bruins signed Zach Senyshyn to a one-year $750,000 deal. According to Cap Friendly, 8 RFAs remain - Kirill Kaprizov (MIN), Elias Pettersson (VAN), Rasmus Dahlin (BUF), Brady Tkachuk (OTT), Quinn Hughes (VAN), Anatoly Golyshev (NYI), Robert Thomas (STL), and Kieffer Bellows (NYI).
On Monday, news leaked that the Arizona Coyotes would be sporting the only logo that even comes close to rivaling the Storm Jersey in awesomeness full time. They released the white road Kachina jersey to go along with the black version they will be wearing at home games. They may not have a home after this season, but they have some sweet sweaters. [Five for Howling]