It’s been a long journey for the Tampa Bay Lightning, but it finally seems that this is going to be their year. Dallas is an excellent team with power forwards and a solid defensive structure, but they are no match for the momentum Tampa has right now. Expect to see the Lightning’s names engraved on Lord Stanley’s Chalice by the end of 2020.
Tampa Bay has been struggling to win a Cup for years now, and it is beyond unbelievable that they have maintained such success for the better part of five years. Their captain and star forward Steven Stamkos has been riddled with injuries over the last few seasons, as has the rest of the team during playoff time.
In 2015, the Lightning won game seven of the Eastern Conference Finals on the road to beat the New York Rangers, a feat no other team had accomplished against the Rangers in history. They were poised to win the Cup until the Blackhawks powered past them in dramatic fashion. They were determined to come back full force next season, but they were once again riddled with injuries.
In 2019, Tampa earned their title as the President’s Trophy Champions for having an outstanding 62-16-4 record. No other team came close to their 128 point season. However, their matchup against the Columbus Blue Jackets proved to be fatal, as they were swept in the first round series.
After so much heartbreak, the Lightning are focused, generally healthy (except Stamkos) and ready to finally seal the deal.
On the other end of the ice is the Dallas Stars, a team that seemingly came from nowhere to make an amazing run to fight for their chance at the Cup. While they have been increasingly better over the last few seasons, they do not have the same playoff experience that Tampa has accumulated, nor do they possess the raw talent combined with excellent chemistry that the Lightning proudly boast.
The Stars have strong will and a small edge in rest days over the Lightning, but it won’t be enough to overcome Tampa’s energy and determination to get over the final hump. This may be their last chance at a real run, whereas the Stars will be more than capable of continuing as a great team for the next few seasons. Tampa has spent a lot of time in the spotlight, so if they don’t complete the mission this season, they know they may have missed their window of opportunity.
Game one is tonight, September 19th, at 7:30 on NBCSN. Put your money on Tampa. They won’t let you down.