2020 Stanley Cup Final
Lightning in 6
Two months in the bubble have come down to two teams in the Southern United States, playing for the Stanley Cup in Edmonton. The Dallas Stars have reached the Stanley Cup Final by being able to adjust. In the first round, their offense was explosive as they extinguished the Flames in six. In the second round, the Stars needed an overtime win in Game 7 to clear past the Avalanche, while in the Western Conference Finals, they used strong goaltending from Anton Khudobin to slay the Golden Knights in five. The Tampa Bay Lightning reached the Stanley Cup Final by avenging their 2019 collapse against the Blue Jackets in five, bettering the Bruins in five and sailing past the Islanders in six.
The key for the Dallas Stars will be to get their offense going as it was in the first two rounds. The Lightning have a much better offense than Vegas and could score in bunches. They also have strong goaltending and defense, meaning Dallas will need to have that quick-strike ability to skate with them. The Stars have had a postseason of unsung heroes like Joel Kiviranta in his only game in the second round posting a hat trick in Game 7. If they are to beat Tampa, the stars of the Stars have to shine. Miro Heiskanen has been the teams leading scorer with 22 points, powered by 17 assists. Denis Gurianov and Joe Pavelski each had nine goals to lead the way.
The Tampa Bay Lightning had one of the best regular seasons in the history of the NHL in 2019 but were swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Blue Jackets. Often that team that chokes in the playoffs one year comes back the next year and wins the championship. The Lightning quietly had a strong season this year and played well in the bubble. They face a big test in the first round by facing Columbus again. They won the first game in five overtimes and have been getting all the clutch goals since. Tampa is 4-1 in overtime during the playoffs; this includes wins in all three clinching games. Tampa’s lit up the scoreboard in the playoffs. Nikita Kucherov leads all scorers in the postseason with 26 points, highlighted by 20 assists. Brayden Point has been on point with nine goals and 16 assists. Two of Point’s goals have come in overtime. Victor Hedman also has nine goals for Tampa, a team that comes at you in waves.
The Lightning matched the 1995/96 Red Wings record with 62 wins. The Red Wings did not win the Stanley Cup in 1996. The Lightning did not win the Stanley Cup after winning 62 in 2019. Detroit won the Stanley Cup in 1997, and the Lightning will win the Stanley Cup in 2020.
Conn Smythe Winner
Brayden Point, Lightning