Only the Toronto Maple Leafs have ever come back from a 3-0 deficit to win the Stanley Cup, and to find that, you have to go all the way back to the Frank Roosevelt administration. This is the daunting task that awaits the Montreal Canadiens, who looked to attempt to flip the script on the reigning Stanley Cup Champions on Monday. Should Tampa win, it will be the city’s third major championship in four opportunities in the last year.
Corey Perry, who lost to Tampa last year in the Final with Dallas, almost put a dent in the 4-2 score to give the Canadiens momentum, yet he just missed the shot. It was seemingly the story of the game, which included a number of shots going off of the pole and some incredible Vasilevskiy saves. Danault, with under six minutes, tried to do the same thing and also came up empty. Danault did, however, score his first goal of the playoffs. With the Canadiens trying to get back into it, Tyler Johnson sunk a dagger on an Erik Gustaffsen turnover to make it 5-2. It was Johnny’s second goal of the game, a key game for Tyler Johnson. Johnson wasn’t supposed to be on the team in 2021, yet the team couldn’t find an adequate trade partner. For Johnson, he has been with the Lightning since the 2012 season and a major part of the perennial contender built.
Corey Perry immediately answered Johnson’s second goal, making it 5-3 Tampa Bay. It was already too late. Ben Chariot made an excellent attempt afterward with Vasilevskiy making a magnificent save from behind him to keep the scoreboard where it was at. With an empty net, Blake Coleman put Tampa Bay back up by three when Jeff Petry fumbled the puck.
The Lightning have scored the most goals through three games of a Stanley Cup Final since 1984, but tonight was highlighted by doing it in pairs. They scored two goals in each of the three periods, including two from their defencemen early in the first. Jan Rutta scored his second goal of the NHL Postseason while Victor Hedman continued his storied postseason success. Former league-MVP Nikita Kucherov, NHL’s leading scorer during the playoffs, scored two points including a nasty snipe goal.
Despite outshooting the Lightning, the Canadiens were outclassed a majority of the game. Andrei Vasilevskiy saved 32/35 shots as the Bolts go up 3-0 in the Cup Final. The Lightning, who are looking to be the first franchise to win back-to-back Stanley Cup since the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Sharks and Predators in 2016 and 2017. Pat Maroon looks to win his third consecutive Stanley Cup. No team has swept the Stanley Cups since the 1998 Detroit Red Wings.
Jan Rutta, who scored zero goals in 35 regular season games, became the first player in NHL history to score a playoff goal in the month of July. Victor Hedman became the first player in NHL history to score a goal in every calendar month. Tampa’s Nikita Kucherov and Tyler Johnson, as well as Montreal’s Corey Perry later joined the exclusive group. The Lightning played a tremendous game, primarily starting the periods. Tampa scored fast and early in both of the first periods, killing any hope for the Montreal faithful.
Should the Lightning sweep, they will have the shortest time in NHL history between Cup victories at just 281 days. Tampa looks to cap off an unprecedented run in the Finals on Monday in Montreal.
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