The Lightning entered the postseason as the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference and remained there after defeating the Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins, and losing to the Philadelphia Flyers, in the round-robin portion of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers.
Tampa Bay defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets in five games in the Eastern Conference First Round and the Bruins in five games in the second round. The Lightning advanced to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2015 with a six-game win against the New York Islanders in the Eastern Conference Final.
Here's a look at the Lightning's road to the Stanley Cup:
(Note: The Lightning played the round-robin portion of the qualifiers and the first two rounds of the playoffs at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. The conference finals and Stanley Cup Final were played at Rogers Place in Edmonton.)
Aug. 3: Stanley Cup Qualifiers, Round-Robin: Lightning 3, Capitals 2 (SO)
The Lightning had a 2-0 lead late in the second period on goals by Nikita Kucherov and Mitchell Stephens until the Capitals tied it with two goals in the final 2:36 of the period. The game went to a shootout and Kucherov scored the deciding goal to give Tampa Bay the win.
Aug. 5: Stanley Cup Qualifiers, Round-Robin: Lightning 3, Bruins 2
For the second straight game, the Lightning had a 2-0 lead they couldn't hold. Brayden Point and Alex Killorn scored first-period goals, but Charlie McAvoy and Chris Wagner got the Bruins even at 2-2. Tyler Johnson's goal with 1:27 left in the third turned out to be the game-winner.
Aug. 8: Stanley Cup Qualifiers, Round-Robin: Flyers 4, Lightning 1
Nicolas Aube-Kubel scored twice in the first period to give the Flyers a 2-0 lead. Johnson's power-play goal at 5:21 of the second got the Lightning within 2-1 but Joel Farabee gave the Flyers their two-goal lead back at 14:22. Tyler Pitlick scored an empty-net goal to seal the win for the Flyers, earning them the No. 1 seed in the East with the Lightning finishing as the No. 2 seed.
Aug. 11: Game 1, Eastern Conference First Round: Lightning 3, Blue Jackets 2 (5OT)
After the Presidents' Trophy-winning Lightning got swept by the Blue Jackets in the first round in 2019, it took one game, albeit a very long one, to make sure that wouldn't be the case this season. With Tampa Bay trailing 2-1, Yanni Gourde scored 23 seconds into the third period to tie the game, which would be the last goal for a while. Four full overtimes were completed before Point scored at 10:27 of the fifth to give the Lightning 3-2 win and a 1-0 series lead. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 61 saves for the Lightning and Joonas Korpisalo set an NHL record with 85 saves for the Blue Jackets.
Aug. 13: Game 2, Eastern Conference First Round: Blue Jackets 3, Lightning 1
After playing more than two full games two days prior, the Lightning took a 1-0 lead on Kucherov's' goal at 5:24 of the first. The Blue Jackets responded with goals by Ryan Murray and Oliver Bjorkstrand to take a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes. Alexander Wennberg scored in the third and Korpisalo made 36 saves to even the series 1-1.
Aug. 15: Game 3, Eastern Conference First Round: Lightning 3, Blue Jackets 2
Killorn scored 4:12 into the game for a 1-0 lead. Riley Nash tied it 1-1 1:49 into the second but Point's fourth of the postseason extended his point streak to six games and gave Tampa Bay a 2-1 lead. Victor Hedman scored his first goal of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and Vasilevskiy made 15 saves to give the Lightning the series lead.
Aug. 17: Game 4, Eastern Conference First Round: Lightning 2, Blue Jackets 1
After neither team scored in the first period, Barclay Goodrow's first of the playoffs put Tampa Bay ahead 1-0 16 seconds into the second. Gourde doubled the lead at 4:09 before Cam Atkinson made it 2-1 at 5:48. The Lightning allowed eight shots on goal in the third and held on to put them one victory from advancing to the second round.
Aug. 19: Game 5, Eastern Conference First Round: Lightning 5, Blue Jackets 4 (OT)
Tampa Bay took a 2-0 lead 6:39 into the first and seemed well on their way to closing out the series, but Columbus scored four straight to take a 4-2 lead at 9:33 of the third. Kevin Shattenkirk made it 4-3 at 12:01 and Anthony Cirelli scored at 18:22 to tie the game when Point's shot went off his skate with Vasilevskiy pulled for an extra skater. Point then scored his second overtime winner of the series at 5:12 to send the Lightning to the second round.
Aug. 23: Game 1, Eastern Conference Second Round: Bruins 3, Lightning 2
Charlie Coyle, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand gave the Bruins a 3-0 lead. Hedman scored twice in the third but it was too little, too late for Tampa Bay. Jaroslav Halak made 35 saves for the Bruins, 18 in the second period, to help them take a 1-0 series lead.
Aug. 25: Game 2, Eastern Conference Second Round: Lightning 4, Bruins 3 (OT)
The Bruins took two one-goal leads but the Lightning responded each time. Blake Coleman gave Tampa Bay its first lead of the game, 3-2 at 10:40 into the third, before Marchand tied it 3-3 at 16:02. The game went into overtime and Ondrej Palat scored at 4:40 to tie the series.
Aug. 26: Game 3, Eastern Conference Second Round: Lightning 7, Bruins 1
Palat and Gourde scored in the first period for a 2-0 lead and the Lightning used a four-goal second, including two power-play goals, to put the game out of reach. Kucherov had a goal and three assists, Killorn had two goals and one assist and Point had one goal and two assists to give Tampa Bay the series lead.
Aug. 29: Game 4, Eastern Conference Second Round: Lightning 3, Bruins 1
For the second straight game, Palat opened the scoring. He scored at 8:59 of the first and 12:29 of the second for a 2-0 lead before Hedman's power-play goal made it 3-0 at 18:04. Jake DeBrusk scored a power-play goal at 7:04 of the third but Vasilevskiy made 29 saves to extend Tampa Bay's series lead.
Aug. 31: Game 5, Eastern Conference Second Round: Lightning 3, Bruins 2 (OT)
Palat opened the scoring for the third straight game, scoring in his fourth straight at 4:21 of the second. Pastrnak tied it 1-1 at 12:38 of the second and the teams traded goals in the third. Hedman scored at 14:10 of the second overtime and Vasilevskiy made 45 saves to send the Lightning to the Eastern Conference Final.
Sept. 7: Game 1, Eastern Conference Final: Lightning 8, Islanders 2
Playing their first game in a week, the Lightning picked up where they left off. Point, Hedman and Ryan McDonagh scored in the first 10:46 for a 3-1 lead, and Tampa Bay scored twice in the second and three times in the third. The eight goals tied the most in team history. Point and Kucherov each scored five points, and the Lightning scored three power-play goals to take a 1-0 lead in the series.
Sept. 9: Game 2, Eastern Conference Final: Lightning 2, Islanders 1
The Islanders took a 1-0 lead 1:24 into the game on a goal by Matt Martin and Hedman tied it 1-1 at 18:25 of the first. After neither team scored in the second, the game appeared headed for overtime tied 1-1 in the final minute of the third. But McDonagh found Kucherov, who scored on a one-timer from the right face-off circle with nine seconds left for a 2-1 win to extend their series lead.
Sept. 11: Game 3, Eastern Conference Final: Islanders 5, Lightning 3
The Islanders had a 3-1 lead entering the third period until Palat's power-play goal at 2:32 and Johnson's at 12:04 tied the game 3-3. With 3:25 left in the period, Brock Neslon put the Islanders ahead 4-3. Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored an empty-net goal with 36 remaining for the 5-3 final.
Sept. 13: Game 4, Eastern Conference Final: Lightning 4, Islanders 1
After neither team scored in the first period, the Lightning and Islanders combined for three goals in a 27-second span in the second. Nelson scored at 11:27 for a 1-0 lead, Coleman tied it 15 seconds later and Palat gave the Lightning a 2-1 lead 12 seconds after that. Point and Pat Maroon scored third-period goals, and Tampa Bay moved within one win of the Stanley Cup Final.
Sept. 15: Game 5, Eastern Conference Final: Islanders 2, Lightning 1 (2OT)
Neither team had great scoring opportunities and the game was tied 1-1 going into the third after goals by Ryan Pulock in the first and Hedman in the second. The game went into overtime and neither team scored on any of their four shots on goal. In the second OT, Jordan Eberle's one-timer at 12:30 beat Vasilevskiy to keep the Islanders alive in the series.
Sept. 17: Game 6, Eastern Conference Final: Lightning 2, Islanders 1 (OT)
Devon Toews put the Islanders ahead 1-0 at 4:15 of the first before Hedman tied it 1-1 at 6:28. Although the Lightning outshot the Islanders 42-21, the game remained tied after 60 minutes. Cirelli's goal at 13:18 won the game and sent the Lightning to the Cup Final for the first time since 2015. It was the third straight series that the Lightning clinched in overtime.
Sept. 19: Game 1, Stanley Cup Final: Stars 4, Lightning 1
The Lightning entered the game after one day off, while the Stars had four days off, and it showed early. Dallas led 3-1 after two periods, allowing 14 shots on goal. But the Lightning pushed back in the third with 22 shots on goal. Anton Khudobin didn't let any past him in the final 20 minutes and the Stars took a 1-0 series lead.
Sept. 21: Game 2, Stanley Cup Final: Lightning 3, Stars 2
The Lightning got to the Stars early with three first-period goals in a 3:53 span by Point, Palat and Shattenkirk. Joe Pavelski scored a power-play goal in the second and Mattias Janmark made it 3-2 5:27 into the third. But Vasilevskiy made 27 saves for Tampa Bay, which held on to even the series.
Sept. 23: Game 3, Stanley Cup Final: Lightning 5, Stars 2
Steven Stamkos scored on his first shot in his 2020 postseason debut 6:58 into the game for a 2-0 lead. Although he didn't play after the first period, his teammates picked him up. The Lightning put the game out of reach in the second, outshooting the Stars 21-4 and getting goals from Hedman, Point and Palat for a 5-1 lead. Hedman had a goal and two assists to help the Lightning take the series lead.
Sept. 25: Game 4, Stanley Cup Final: Lightning 5, Stars 4 (OT)
The Stars led 2-0 with under a minute remaining in the first when Point scored to make it 2-1. Point scored on a power play in the second to tie the game 2-2. Corey Perry gave the Stars the lead later in the period, but Gourde responded to tie it 3-3 on the man-advantage with 1:06 left in the second. Killorn made it 4-3 at 6:41 of the third before Pavelski's second of the game tied it at 11:35. Shattenkirk's power-play goal at 6:34 of overtime put the Lightning within one win of the Stanley Cup.
Sept. 26: Game 5, Stanley Cup Final: Stars 3, Lightning 2 (2OT)
Perry scored a late first-period goal for a 1-0 lead before Palat tied it early in the second period. Mikhail Sergachev's goal at 3:38 of the third gave the Lightning a 2-1 lead. They were less than seven minutes away from winning the Cup but Pavelski scored with 6:45 remaining in the third to tie it 2-2. Perry was the hero for the Stars scoring at 9:23 of overtime to extend the series.
Sept. 28: Game 6, Stanley Cup Final: Lightning 2, Stars 0
Point gave the Lightning a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal at 12:23 of the first, his playoff-leading 14th goal, and Coleman scored at 7:01 in the second for a 2-0 lead. Vasilevskiy made 22 saves for his first shutout of the postseason, and Hedman, who scored 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists), won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.