Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) looks up at the scoreboard after scoring during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)

Lightning’s Historic Run Comes to an End

The Colorado Avalanche defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday night 2-1 to capture the organization’s third Stanley Cup and first in the last 23 years.

End of an Era

In an attempt to be the first team to win three straight Stanley Cup Finals since the 1983 New York Islanders, the Lightning fell just short.

In a 6 game series, the speedy Colorado Avalanche proved to be too much to handle for the defending champions. Cale Makar led the Avalanche in scoring in the series and was awarded the Conn Smythe Award as playoff MVP. He is the second defenseman to win the award in the past three years, joining Tampa’s Victor Hedman.

Nonetheless, Jon Cooper and his Lightning recognize the dominance they have shown over the past three seasons.

Historic Stretch

Tampa Bay has now made the Stanley Cup Finals in three straight years, winning two of them. As well as, four seasons ago, the Lightning had one of the greatest regular seasons of all time with 62 wins, becoming the second team ever to complete that feat.

Jon Cooper and his staff have created nothing short of a dynasty that will leave fans talking about their run for years to come.

Moving Forward

The Lightning will enter the 2022-2023 season with a very similar look to this year’s squad.

The core group of stars that include Nikita Kucherov, Victor Hedman, Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point and Andrei Vasilevskiy are all under contract at least through next season.

Ondrej Palat will be the biggest name to hit free agency for Tampa. Although, Tampa ideally would like to resign the Czech Republic native to another multi-year deal. Additionally, Nicholas Paul and Jan Rutta will both be unrestricted free agents as well.

With not much money to spend in free agency, the Lightning may look to add some veterans in the market with a cheaper price tag.

To add, the Lightning also have five draft picks, including one first-round pick. Tampa has not had a first-round pick in two years and will look to target a talented forward given that the defense has been so strong as of late.

Nonetheless, the Lightning have had one of the most historic runs in recent NHL history. With a promising young goalie in Vasilevskiy and experience with Stamkos and others, the Lightning will be a force to be reckoned with come next season.

About Kyle Curtis

A third-year journalism student with a focus in sports and media.

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