From First Round Sweep to Stanley Cup Champions: The 2020 Tampa Bay Lightning

The Tampa Bay Lightning shocked all of the NHL in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs after getting swept by the Columbus Blue Jackets in round one. They had just made history by tying for most wins in a single season at 62, and were easily everyone’s cup favorites heading into the post season.

However, things took a turn for the worst as the Lightning were swept by the wild card team and were quickly the laughing stock of the NHL. Despite this crushing blow, the Lightning would soon find a way to come back and redeem themselves.

In the 2019-2020 season, at the pause due to Covid-19, the Tampa Bay Lightning remained in second within the Eastern Conference, trailing the Boston Bruins by 8 points. Once again, they would be cup favorites heading into the playoffs.

Due to their high ranking, the Lightning were given a bye and participated in a round robin, where they faced off in games against the Washington Capitals, Boston Bruins, and Philadelphia Flyers. The Lightning went 1-1-1 throughout the round robin, giving them the second seed in the East heading into round one.

Unfortunately, for the Lightning, this meant facing off against the Columbus Blue Jackets in round one once again. They looked to change last years narrative and move on to round two.

Luckily, the Lightning were able to overpower the Blue Jackets and continue on to face the Bruins. The Bruins weren’t a challenge the Lightning moved on to the Eastern Conference finals against the New York Islanders.

The Lightning dominated game one in a 8-2 win and it almost seemed obvious who would be playing in the Stanley Cup Final as they also went on to win game two. The Islanders attempted to come back after winning game three 5-3, but fell short in game four. The Islanders headed into game five on the brink of elimination and managed to climb out with a win to force a game six.

Embed from Getty Images

Game six was relatively even on both sides and required overtime to determine a winner, a concept the Lightning had become quite familiar with over the course of the 2020 playoffs. Unfortunately for the Islanders, the Lightning proved to be the better team and won the game in overtime. This meant the 2020 Stanley Cup Final would be between the Dallas Stars and Tampa Bay Lightning.

Both the Dallas Stars and Tampa Bay Lightning have won the cup one previous time, in 1999 and 2004 respectively.

While the Lightning were projected cup favorites, Dallas managed to secure a 4-1 win in game one. However, the Lightning took it as a lesson and went on the next three games, putting the Stars on the brink of elimination.

Game five was, once again, decided in overtime between the two teams. The first period of overtime was scoreless, and the game would be settled in double overtime. Corey Perry scored the double overtime winner to force a game six for the Stars.

Despite overcoming this feat, the Stars fell short the Lightning in game six, crowing the Tampa Bay Lightning as the 2020 Stanley Cup Champions.

After last years embarrassing first round sweep, the Tampa Bay Lightning overcame arguably the most difficult postseason in NHL history and secured the Stanley Cup.

Point Stanley Cup
( Photo Creds: @/NHL.com )

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