The Lightning had a chance to turn the page on multiple missed opportunities from Game 4 in Montreal. Up 3-1 in the series, Tampa was still in a good position to hold the Stanley Cup up at home in Tampa but the pressure was definitely on tonight.
And then they did it. They won the Stanley Cup for the second consecutive year.
Both teams went scoreless in the first period although the Lightning showed to be the more aggressive team, out-shooting Montreal 13-4. Tyler Johnson had a chance to break the tie with 5:21 left in the period, but instead knocked one right off the crossbar, an issue we saw frequently in Game 4. Montreal seemed to be getting to Braydon Point, throwing him off his game.
Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev got tangled up with Nick Suzuki in the defensive zone which gave him a tripping call early in the second. Defense had been the story of the game until Tampa rookie Ross Colton drove the net to get them on the board.
Going into Game 5, Tampa owned an all-time record of 16-3 when scoring first in potential series-clinching games. That was upped again on Wednesday.
After Andrei Vasilevskiy made a huge save, Ben Chiarot was whistled for holding Brayden Point right as Point worked his way to the front of the net. Tampa started the third period with a power play that was killed by Montreal – a common trait in this series.
From there, Vasilevskiy made a huge save on Josh Anderson, something we’ve seen him do throughout this series. Fans began chanting; We want the cup – We want the cup – We want the cup.
Carey Price finally made it to the first Stanley Cup final of his career but had an uncharacteristic performance up until Game 4 where he stopped 32 shots. In Game 5, we saw him dialed in, but it wasn't enough.
Tampa clung to a 1-0 lead in the third to clinch another Stanley Cup win.
After getting roasted by the entire internet for saying she preferred the Lightning to “maybe take it easy” in Game 4 so that they could win in front of a home crowd in Tampa, Mayor Jane Castor did some backtracking on Tuesday.
Said Castor: “Lesson learned: Don’t try to be funny when you’re the mayor – or about sports.”
She was right though, hoisting the Stanley Cup at home in Tampa was a pretty special sight, to say the least.