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Sport Why the Lightning are in full control of the Stanley Cup Final

00:30  28 september  2020
00:30  28 september  2020 Source:   thescore.com

Steven Stamkos joins teammates in celebration after Lightning reach Stanley Cup Final

  Steven Stamkos joins teammates in celebration after Lightning reach Stanley Cup Final The Lightning also ignored superstition and touched the Prince of Wales Trophy after eliminating the Islanders to win the conference. THIS. MOMENT. pic.twitter.com/gWUNDXeDu6 — Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) September 18, 2020 Some teams follow the superstition, while others do not and are unaffected. The Lightning did not touch the trophy in 2015 when they lost in the Cup Final, so they had nothing to lose by touching it this time. Tampa Bay, which was the No. 2 seed in the East, will meet Dallas in the Stanley Cup Final. Game 1 of the series will be on Saturday.

In the 2020 Stanley Cup Final , one of the greatest cliches of all time is firmly rooted. "If you're going to win With Hedman on the ice, the Lightning have controlled 56% of the shot attempts and 53% of the expected goals (2-2 in actual goals) in 46 minutes of five-on-five action against Dallas' top players.

The Lightning can win the Stanley Cup for the first time since 2004 with a victory. The Lightning captain resumed skating and was a regular participant in optional practices and morning Stamkos participated in drills with the top power-play unit during camp but did not take part in a full practice

The postseason is for cliches. Regardless of the level of competition, those well-worn hockey catchphrases take on practical meaning when everything is on the line.

a group of people in uniform © Dave Sandford / NHL / Getty Images

Play a full 60 minutes? You better, or your season will be over. Get pucks in deep? You must if you plan to wear down the opposition over the course of a series. Traffic in front? It's a time-tested way to score playoff goals.

In the 2020 Stanley Cup Final, one of the greatest cliches of all time is firmly rooted.

Time, TV, streaming info and players to watch as Stars, Lightning open Stanley Cup Final

  Time, TV, streaming info and players to watch as Stars, Lightning open Stanley Cup Final The Dallas Stars and Tampa Bay Lightning face off in the Stanley Cup Final, starting Saturday in the Edmonton, Alberta bubble.The former San Jose Sharks captain chose Dallas.

Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Saturday. "We enjoy being called underdogs," said Dallas center Tyler Seguin, who had an assist on all three goals in Game 5. "Every person really this whole time we've been in the bubble seems to

Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final is in the books, but the series is not over.The Stars win in double overtime to force a Game 6 on Monday. Inadvertent as it was , Tyler Seguin of the Stars is guilty of high sticking Brayden Point and the Lightning have their first power play of the game.

"If you're going to win," Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said Wednesday after his team took a 2-1 series lead over the Dallas Stars. "Your best players have to be your best players."

Cooper, who's known for his thoughtful, non-cliche quotes, is spot-on. Through three games, the body of work from each team's stars has tilted the scales in Tampa's favor. There's a giant gap between the accomplishments of Cooper's top guns and those of Dallas' best players.

Bruce Bennett / Getty Images © Provided by theScore Bruce Bennett / Getty Images

The Lightning are a deadly outfit because they boast an abundance of star power coupled with enviable role-player depth. When both groups are humming, as they have been over the past week, Tampa is a treat to watch. A clinical juggernaut.

Top NHL prospect Justin Barron out indefinitely following medical procedure

  Top NHL prospect Justin Barron out indefinitely following medical procedure The 18-year-old is among the most polished defenders available in the draft and scored 41 points in 68 games during the 2018-19 season. While those numbers fell as he dealt with the blood clot issue this year, Barron was still considered a strong prospect that would be snatched up quickly in the draft.Subscribe to Yardbarker's Morning Bark, the most comprehensive newsletter in sports. Customize your email to get the latest news on your favorite sports, teams and schools. Emailed daily. Always free! Sign up now ▸More must-reads:Lightning captain Steven Stamkos out for Game 4 vs.

The first two games of the Stanley Cup Final between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Dallas Stars have been interesting because there has been no consistency from That's unheard of in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Tampa Bay came out ready to go in Game 2; it showed more quickness, was first on

Game 4 of the 2020 Stanley Cup Final between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Dallas Stars is in the books and it was a wild one, with Tampa Bay winning 8:10 p.m. ET. Special guests to Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final tonight are two Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornets, who are doing a flyover

Nikita Kucherov, the club's most dangerous offensive threat, leads the playoffs with 30 points in 22 games. He's played with a certain moxie against Dallas, battling through various painful moments - especially in Game 2 - to produce four points in three games, including a goal and an assist in Wednesday's 5-2 Game 3 victory. In a word, he's been dominant.

Victor Hedman, Tampa's all-world defenseman, has laid waste to the Stars. With Hedman on the ice, the Lightning have controlled 56% of the shot attempts and 53% of the expected goals (2-2 in actual goals) in 46 minutes of five-on-five action against Dallas' top players. The big Swede also has a series-leading five points.

Center Brayden Point and goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, meanwhile, continue to make playoff MVP cases of their own. Point, who's battled injury throughout Tampa's two-plus months in the bubble, has 28 points in 20 games. Vasilevskiy has started all 22 of the Lightning's games and ranks second in goals saved above average (7.24) among goalies who've played at least 500 minutes this postseason.

Time, TV, streaming info on Tampa Bay Lightning's potential Game 5 Stanley Cup clincher vs. Dallas Stars

  Time, TV, streaming info on Tampa Bay Lightning's potential Game 5 Stanley Cup clincher vs. Dallas Stars The Tampa Bay Lightning, holding a 3-1 series lead against the Dallas Stars, are in position to capture their first Stanley Cup since 2004 as they play the Dallas Stars in Game 5 Saturday night in the Edmonton, Alberta, bubble.

[RELATED: Complete Stanley Cup Final coverage]. Pavelski, who replaced Seguin on the top line between Jamie Benn and Alexander Radulov, scored two goals to give him 12 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, one behind Lightning forward Brayden Point for the NHL lead.

Stanley Cup Finals . The Lightning Gain Stamkos, and the Lead. EDMONTON, Alberta — Steven Stamkos didn’t need much time to make his mark on the Stanley Cup finals . In his first game since February, the Tampa Bay captain helped put his team within two games of winning a title when he

a group of baseball players standing on top of each other: Bruce Bennett / Getty Images © Provided by theScore Bruce Bennett / Getty Images

Even captain Steven Stamkos - who until Wednesday had been sidelined since Feb. 25 - has authored a defining moment. Despite being limited to 2:47 of ice time, Stamkos impacted Game 3 greatly. His lone shot on goal, a bullet of a wrister off the rush, zoomed past Dallas goalie Anton Khudobin's right shoulder to put Tampa up 2-0.

"He only had five shifts, but they were as efficient five shifts as you're ever going to see in a National Hockey League game," Cooper said of Stamkos. "We're with these players day in, day out, all year. This is the season that never seems to end. To do what he did on the biggest stage at the biggest time of the year, you had to marvel at it. It was pretty damn cool."

Contrast Stamkos' fairytale cameo with what's happening on the Stars' side of things. Their No. 91, Tyler Seguin, hasn't scored a goal in a month - his last tally came on Aug. 26 in Game 3 of Dallas' second-round series against the Colorado Avalanche - and he's registered one lonely assist since. Seguin is playing fine overall, and he certainly can't complain about ice time; he's logged more than 21 minutes in two of three games in the final. But the $9.85-million man needs to start producing.

Condensed season puts more pressure on goaltending

  Condensed season puts more pressure on goaltending Even those teams with outstanding starters will be looking for legitimate backup options as we head towards the condensed 2020-21 season. It may not even end up needing the “2020” part, given the regular season is now not expected to start until January.If that’s the case and the league continues to remain steadfast on playing the full 82-game schedule, next season will be extremely difficult on starting goaltenders. Back-to-back situations will come up much more frequently, with three-in-four-nights often also becoming the norm.

Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Dallas Stars is in the books, and the Lightning win 5-2 to take a 2-1 series lead. During a minor skirmish with less than two minutes to play tonight, " Why Can't We Be Friends" blared over the Rogers Place sound system.

[RELATED: Complete Stanley Cup Final coverage]. The Lightning 's biggest concern heading into Game 4 is the status of forward Steven Stamkos. Tampa Bay faced the Boston Bruins in Games 2 and 3 of the Eastern Conference Second Round at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, the Eastern hub city

"Do we need more from him? Yes," Stars interim head coach Rick Bowness said Tuesday. "Do we need more from a lot of other players? Yes. I know (Seguin) gets all the attention - and, OK, that comes with the territory, so he's got to deal with that. But, as a coach, I'm after a few more guys to give us more."

a hockey game in the snow: Andy Devlin / Getty Images © Provided by theScore Andy Devlin / Getty Images

Seguin's longtime linemates, Jamie Benn and Alexander Radulov, haven't exactly taken the postseason by storm either. Benn's been buzzing of late, but he's yet to record a point in this series. Radulov has a trio of assists against the Lightning and 17 total playoff points, but he took two boneheaded penalties in Game 3, one of which resulted in Tampa's eventual game-winning goal. Dallas' top line isn't getting top-line results.

"They've got to figure it out," Bowness said. "It's as simple as that."

Defensemen Miro Heiskanen and John Klingberg round out Dallas' list of stars. Both have been solid against the Lightning and far from the problem, though Heiskanen did get burned Wednesday on Tampa's opening goal. "Tonight we made some errors," Klingberg said. "That's hockey. That's sports. It's 2-1, they're up one. We're going to even the series on Friday."

Therein lies another trusty cliche: Take it one game at a time. Really, it's the only mentality to hone right now if you're a member of the Stars. Seguin can't focus on the fact he's scored twice on 61 shots on goal in these playoffs. Radulov must put those penalties behind him. Heiskanen can't dwell on one mistake in an otherwise brilliant, Conn Smythe-worthy postseason. The list goes on.

Red Wings won't re-sign Jonathan Ericsson, Trevor Daley

  Red Wings won't re-sign Jonathan Ericsson, Trevor Daley Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman stated that veteran defensemen Jonathan Ericsson and Trevor Daley will not return to the team next season. The pair are both unrestricted free agents and will have to test the market if they hope to extend their careers. © Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports Jonathan Ericsson will be looking for a new team. Detroit’s decision to cut ties with Ericsson and Daley should not come as a shock; both blue liners saw their roles greatly reduced this season. Ericsson, a career Red Wing, was buried in the AHL for much of the year, skating in just 18 games with Detroit.

Ironically, the first three games of this series have shown that Dallas, despite being outmatched on paper, can hang with Tampa. The final has been nastier than predicted, creating an environment and atmosphere that can most definitely play into the Stars' hands.

Andrew Cogliano sitting on a snow board: Bruce Bennett / Getty Images © Provided by theScore Bruce Bennett / Getty Images

When Dallas limits the Lightning's grade A chances in the offensive zone, as it did in its 4-1 win in Game 1, Khudobin can take care of the rest. When the Stars stay out of the penalty box and find a rhythm for an entire game, they size up pretty well stylistically. When they produce some semblance of offense - rather than going long stretches without recording a shot on goal, as they did in Games 2 and 3 - they absolutely can scratch and claw their way to a victory, or two, or three. It's not an impossible task.

In Game 4, Bowness and the Stars will again have the luxury of last change as the "home" team. Also of note: Dallas hasn't logged as many miles as the Lightning have in the month of September. Heading into Friday, the first day of a back-to-back scenario, the Stars will have played eight hard-fought games in 19 days, while Tampa will have played nine contests in 18 days. These small differences can add up.

It's fair to wonder, too, what kind of impact the currently unfit-to-play Ben Bishop might have on the series - good or bad - if Bowness taps him as the Stars' starting goalie for an upcoming game. Mind you, none of it will matter if, to expand on Cooper's thoughts, one team's best players embarrass the other team's best players at the most important time of year.

Tampa Bay Lightning, Dallas Stars had great playoff runs; what awaits this offseason?

  Tampa Bay Lightning, Dallas Stars had great playoff runs; what awaits this offseason? Most of the top players on the Tampa Bay Lightning and Dallas Stars are signed long-term, but there are key decisions to make.Tampa Bay Lightning wins Stanley Cup

Both Kucherov and Hedman noted this week that Tampa's players couldn't care less about padding personal statistics or challenging long-held records. They're worried about winning the Cup and absolutely nothing else.

It was grossly cliche. And, to be honest, perfectly said.

John Matisz is theScore's national hockey writer.

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Video: 2-minute NHL playoff recap: Lightning bounce back and a must-see headlock (cbc.ca)

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