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game recap

Lightning repeat as Stanley Cup champions, defeat Canadiens in Game 5

Vasilevskiy makes 22 saves for shutout; Colton scores only goal

by Corey Long / Independent Correspondent

Lightning earn Stanley Cup

MTL@TBL, Gm5: Lightning presented with Stanley Cup

Cup Final, Gm5: Commissioner Gary Bettman presents the Lightning with the Stanley Cup, and the whole team gathers around it

  • 03:33 •

TAMPA -- The Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup for the second straight season with a 1-0 victory against the Montreal Canadiens in Game 5 of the Final at Amalie Arena on Wednesday.

"It's so hard to win the Stanley Cup," Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said. "And then you do it two years in a row. You deserve to go down in history. And this group, no matter what happens from here on out, this group is going to be etched in history forward. And that's pretty special."

Andrei Vasilevskiy made 22 saves for Tampa Bay, which won the Cup for the third time in its history (2004). Ross Colton scored the only goal.

"He makes guys like us look good ...," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said of Vasilevskiy. "What's remarkable to me is I can't believe how he shuts the door in the biggest games of his career. ... He is the big cat, and when he locks in, he is remarkable to watch."

It was Vasilevskiy's fifth shutout of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs and fourth to win a series. He was voted winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy as postseason MVP.

"I can't believe it. It's obviously the whole team deserves it for sure," Vasilevskiy said. "Just to have five shutouts in one playoffs, it's all about team for sure. We were able to shut down the teams four times in a row in clinching games, just amazing. Can't say more. It's not about me, it's about our team."

Video: Vasilevskiy wins Conn Smythe award

Tampa Bay forward Nikita Kucherov said, "I keep telling him he's the MVP, he's the guy, he's the best. He was on his head today. He kept us in the game. Another shutout by him. Remarkable."

Colton tapped in a pass from defenseman David Savard to give the Lightning a 1-0 lead at 13:27 of the second period. Neither Colton nor Savard won the Cup last season; Colton is a rookie, and Savard was acquired in a trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets on April 10.

Video: MTL@TBL, Gm5: Savard sets up Colton's opening goal

Tampa Bay is the ninth team to repeat as Stanley Cup champions, the first since the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016 and 2017.

Carey Price made 29 saves for Montreal, which was playing in the Cup Final for the first time since 1993.

"At the end of the day, I just don't think I played well enough at the start of the series," Price said.

Canadiens captain Shea Weber said, "I don't think that's the case at all. To be honest, I think that we weren't good enough in front of Carey. Give them credit. They're a heck of a team. They're here for a reason and they were better than us in the end."

Video: MTL@TBL, Gm5: Price stuffs Kucherov's shot in tight

Montreal, which finished fourth in the Scotia North Division and had the fewest points of any playoff team (59), rallied against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the best-of-7 Stanley Cup First Round to start an unlikely run.

"I'm proud of this group," said Canadiens coach Dominique Ducharme, who missed six games, including the first two of the Cup Final, after testing positive for COVID-19 on June 18. "I told the guys after the game, there's a period we had to go through a lot of things. You talk about practice. You talk about injuries, scheduling, COVID. Even through the playoffs, being down, being up, many things and we kept moving forward and kept getting better. So we grew as a team a lot. We've got to use that the right way and we want to make it back here with a different result."

Montreal forward Brendan Gallagher said, "Every single guy gave everything they had every single night. You look at our group and, obviously, there's a lot more talented teams and there's a lot of teams that do a lot of things, but there's no team that's stronger as a group and the resiliency that we showed. Just a good team to be a part of."

Video: MTL@TBL, Gm5: Cooper on repeat, special players

Tampa Bay forward Pat Maroon has won the Cup three straight seasons (2019 with St. Louis Blues).

"I was kind of getting emotional with like 1:40 left," Maroon said. "I had to keep it together because obviously I'm not out there. But watching these guys block shots and just muck it up and do everything they can just to [have] an opportunity to win, I've been very fortunate. I'm very blessed to be a part of three runs and three very good teams. You may not see me on the score sheet, but I try to bring a different element to the room and chip in when I can and just kind of relax the team a little bit."

NOTES: Kucherov became the sixth player in NHL history to lead the postseason in points without a tie in consecutive seasons, the first since Mario Lemieux for the Penguins in 1991 and 1992. Kucherov scored 32 points (eight goals, 24 assists) in 23 games this season after scoring 34 (seven goals, 27 assists) in 25 games last season. ... Tampa Bay forward Brayden Point became the sixth player in NHL history to lead the playoffs in goals without a tie in consecutive seasons (14 goals in 23 games each season), the first since Jari Kurri for the Edmonton Oilers in 1987 and 1988. Point did not score a goal in the Cup Final. … The Lightning were 15-0 in games following a loss in the 2020 and 2021 postseason. ... Tampa Bay forward Alex Killorn broke the fibula in his left leg blocking a shot in Game 1 on June 28 and had surgery to insert a rod last week.

Video: Lightning top Habs to repeat as Stanley Cup champions

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