What did I tell you in the preview? It was all about resiliency. No one showed that more than game six hero Anthony Cirelli. Cirelli left the game in the second period after colliding with New York Islanders’ forward Anders Lee. Now, he’s the man to send the Tampa Bay Lightning to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in five years.
The Lightning won 2-1 in overtime – as if there was any other way for this series to end. It was game five where the Bolts lost by the exact same score in double overtime. This time, the hockey gods smiled upon Tampa Bay and gave Cirelli a chance that he was able to capitalize on.
Seymon Varlamov was simply outstanding and he single handedly kept the Isles in the game after Victor Hedman scored the tying goal in the first period. Hedman now has nine goals in the playoffs and is closing in on the all-time record for defensemen.
During the post-game celebration, captain Steven Stamkos joined his teammates on the ice in his jersey as they accepted the Prince of Wales trophy – and yes, the Lightning did in fact touch it. After the game, Alex Killorn was asked about the decision and Killorn simply said “We’re not a very superstitious group. We didn’t touch it in 2015 and we didn’t win. So, we wanted to enjoy this one and hopefully we’ll celebrate with another one soon.”
There has been speculation that Stamkos would be able to join the team for the finals after he’s been spotted practicing with the team during the last week. General manager Juilan BriseBois said during the Bruins series that they weren’t going to count Stammer out for this postseason run.
The Stanley Cup Finals against the Dallas Stars kicks off Saturday at 7:30 p.m. as the Lightning continue their quest for a championship