The Tampa Bay Lightning have won the 2020 Stanley Cup, defeating the Dallas Stars by a final score of 2-0 in Game Six of their series.
This effectively ends life in the bubble and puts a fine point on a season that was certainly memorable for a number of reasons.
It’s the second Stanley Cup for the Lightning.
Brayden Point opened the scoring for Tampa, notching his 14th of the playoffs. It was, of course, a power play goal for a Lightning team that seemed to always have an answer on the man-advantage, especially against the Stars.
Blake Coleman scored in the second period, his fifth of the post-season from Cedric Paquette and Pat Maroon.
The ice was, as usual, tilted. Tampa held the lion’s share of shots on goal and chances overall, while Dallas struggled to get much momentum going – even as time ticked off the clock toward the end. They scrambled and seemed sluggish when it mattered most and the Lightning simply sat back and let the seconds run out.
The series was a rough one and the Stars fought valiantly, but Game Six was another story and Tampa legged it out. They went 16-6 in these playoffs and made it look easy for distant observers, of which there were many. But the battle was more significant than any objective analysis could turn up and this Stanley Cup was one of the toughest in NHL history to win.
Regardless of whether you feel a distant sort of indifference as a Canadian hockey fan viewing the two southernmost clubs as undeserving of the challenge, the fact remains that this year’s post-season was one of the most compelling and dynamic human dramas we’ve ever seen in the sport. There was no real significant travel advantage, no home ice, no fans in the stands.
The Lightning know that they are flying out Tuesday, with the Stanley Cup alongside them at last. They will leave behind an Edmonton bubble and several long, long weeks of extraordinary challenges and separation.
And they will enter a future that is still uncertain, even as they celebrate the win well into the night.
Tampa defenceman Victor Hedman secured the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player in the post-season. He had 10 goals in 24 playoff games in the bubble, third-most among defencemen in league history.