Lightning: Tampa Bay Eliminates New York, Advances to Stanley Cup Final

Thanks to a 2-1 win Thursday, the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the New York Islanders in the Eastern Conference Final and punched their ticket to a Stanley Cup Final date with the Dallas Stars.

The Lighting were up 3-2 in their series and finished things off with an overtime victory, with Anthony Cirelli securing the winner.

Devon Toews opened the scoring in Game Six for the Islanders, popping in a sweet wraparound past Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Tampa answered back within two minutes, with defenceman Victor Hedman firing one in after Islanders goalie Semyon Varlamov released an uncharacteristically juicy rebound.

But the second and third periods were scoreless, despite Tampa owning the balance of the shots. New York never reached double-digit shot totals in a single period in Game Six and only had six shots in the first and third period, along with the overtime frame.

While sitting back on their heels and playing a form of rope-a-dope hockey seemed to have some impact on the series, the Lightning eventually found a solution and now the Islanders are going home.

It was for a lack of heroics from New York. Varlamov made 46 saves in the losing effort, including four from a returning Brayden Point.

Tampa will be making their first appearance in a Cup Final since 2015, when they lost to the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Islanders have to be somewhat proud of their run, as they made it deeper into the post-season than any franchise effort since 1993. The Barry Trotz system has paid dividends along the way and they are as formidable a defensive force as the NHL has seen in some time.

The Stanley Cup Final will begin Saturday in Edmonton.

Image: Dirk Shadd/Tampa Bay Times

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