The Flash at the Gates of History | The press

Was there really anyone in this room who had doubted the Tampa Bay Lightning for the past few days?

Updated yesterday at 11:58pm.

Richard Labbe

Richard Labbe
The press

There was no need, and most importantly, there was no need to believe that the New York Rangers would be entitled to an easy little ride to the grand finals. Oh no! Because if there’s one truth in this league, it’s this: It’s never easy against the Tampa club, and this time it’s the Rangers who just realized it.

So here are Gotham’s representatives eliminated, all capsized, those who held a solid 2-0 lead after the first two games of this series and those who looked like a club in full control.


PHOTO CHRIS O’MEARA, ASSOCIATED PRESS

Rangers had taken the lead in the series, but it’s the Lightning who will ultimately make it to the grand finals.

But that lead melted away like a two-liter Neapolitan forgotten on the counter, and today the Rangers are on vacation while it’s the Lightning who reach the Grand Final, the result of their 2-1 win. Saturday night in Tampa. as part of game number six of this series. A result that is not as dramatic as it is effective.

This time it was Steven Stamkos who inflicted the damage on the home side, thwarting poor Igor Shesterkin with a superb second-half goal that will probably be on his mind all the time. Stamkos added another goal in the third period and a second as well, and lo and behold, the Lightning meet the Colorado Avalanche in the Grand Final, a third straight Stanley Cup Finals appearance for players in the Flash.

Three straight titles, if that turns out to be the case, of course it would be a first since the heyday of the New York Islanders and the late Mike Bossy, in the early 1980s, when the blue-and-orange club was a little bit right in the league.

No, we’re not one to toss the D-word left and right for this or that, but in this case we will: If the Lightning wins a third straight year, we’ll be in for a dynasty. Even more so in the current context where salary cap restrictions do not allow all players to return every year, unlike the islanders’ golden era.

Perhaps the Lightning also developed a kind of “mental exhaustion” that we now take for granted. But like the Rolling Stones on skates, time flies and is not for Floridans. Time flies and they are still there. They’ve won 11 straight streaks since their first conquest… and that’s quite something.

Meanwhile, starting Wednesday in Denver, Day 1 of this grand final, the Lightning are aiming for a third straight win.

In modern hockey, that’s quite an achievement.

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