“The tickets that Tampa secured for the Stanley Cup Final were won in a battle with the toughest, most persistent opponents. The victory was won not by oversized hockey players, not mean. They didn’t fit into the stereotype of the huge beast that fans or analysts say was made for the playoffs. They were Ondřej Chambers, Nikita Kucherov and Braden Point – the players were not oversized at all. It was these three hockey players who played in the first line who played in the most difficult moments of the match.
They played through pain, went through the opponent’s powerful force moves, but controlled the puck. And even if they didn’t shoot at goal, they still controlled the game. Yes, Patrick Maroon, Blake Coleman, Zach Bogosian, Barclay Goodrow and others joined the team, but the victory in the Eastern Conference final over the Islanders was obtained due to the courage and undeniable superiority of those who limp – Tampa’s exceptional top three.
All three forwards played for about 25 minutes. In equal compositions, Kucherov’s troika threw the opponents 15-5, winning their 1: 0 micromatch. Braden Point has been in and out of the squad throughout the streak, but has played with an untreated lower-body injury. After one of the shifts, the TV cameras snatched the moment when on the bench the doctor passed a massage roller to Point, and when the forward began to use it, he grimaced in pain. Kucherov played over an hour in the last two matches. In the fifth match, it was clear that he did not feel well, but did not miss a single shift.
If the “lightning bolts” raise the Stanley Cup over their heads, the first link will be the main winner. In the current playoffs, Point and Kucherov spent more than 250 minutes on the ice together, during which time Tampa scored 19 goals, conceding only 7. They surpassed their rivals by 75 points, scored in equal squads. As John Cooper said, there is no doubt that Kucherov’s troika has earned success. It’s time to acknowledge that Tampa’s three short forwards are the new face of the resilience that brings playoff victories, “said The Athletic writer Thomas Drans.
“It is worth noting Semyon Varlamov, the Islanders goalkeeper. Yes, his team lost, but he is the only reason the Islanders survived to overtime. And the only reason the Islanders had a chance to win. He stopped 46 of 48 shots and did everything to continue the streak. The only thing he couldn’t do was score.
Andrey Vasilevsky was also very good. He needed a lot fewer shots to save, but made a major save in overtime, stopping Brock Nelson, who could have sent the streak into the seventh, decisive match, ”said NBC Sports’ Adam Gretz.
“Varlamov was the Islanders’ best player in the first half hour of this match. No one fought harder than him, but in the end he had to be content with a post-match handshake. Semyon last played in the playoffs in 2014, he had 13 wins and 13 defeats in cup meetings, but Trotz made a bet on him. His “crackers” in the series against Washington set a new club record. It was no coincidence that Trotz thanked the goalkeeping coaches Mitch Korn and Pierre Greco for working with Varlamov to tweak some things. They made Varlamov better.
As Semyon himself said, he hoped that Brock Nelson would score at that moment in overtime – it was a great chance to win. But there’s nothing to be done, ”wrote Newsday columnist Colin Stevenson.
Tampa in the final, Kucherov is the top scorer in the playoffs! They were helped by a ricochet from Varlamov’s leg
“Lightning” put the squeeze on “Islanders” in overtime. Six Russians will play in the decisive Stanley Cup series.
“Kucherov took the lead, Hedman made a splash”
“Patrick Maroon said after the sixth match of the series that he no longer had nails. It must have been a metaphor, because thick hockey gloves are good protection, but my nerves were really at the limit. And in the Stanley Cup final it will be even worse. Tampa played six overtimes in four games where the streak could have been decided, and the Lightning had 13 extra periods in the playoffs.
Tampa has its own heroes. Braden Point was the most dynamic hockey player on the team and the leader in performance on the team, even when he missed matches. But in the sixth game, Nikita Kucherov made an assist pass and became the leader of the scorer’s dispute. Victor Hedman made a splash: his 9 playoff goals are the best record for a defender since Brian Leach in 1994, when the Rangers won the Stanley Cup.
Now the team is facing the final with Dallas, which had been waiting for their opponent for three days. Tampa have played 9 periods during this time, but, as John Cooper said, if he were offered a ticket to the finals, provided that he had only 45 hours of rest, he would gladly agree, “- said the columnist for the Tampa Bay Times Diana Nirhos .
“Lightning” failed in the majority and were on the verge of losing in the sixth match of the series.
“The islanders have a well-deserved reason to be proud – the team got an excellent experience, which requires blood, sweat and tears, which were enough after this defeat. Barry Trotz’s team is trying to take the most difficult step in professional sports – from challenger to champion, ”said veteran North American sports journalist Larry Brooks of the New York Post.
Barry Trotz himself also said a few fiery words after the end of the cup campaign for the “islanders”.
“There are very few examples in sports where a team is immediately successful. The Islanders were a dynasty team, winning four Cups, but before that there were many difficulties. The same goes for Edmonton and Detroit. In Washington, where I worked recently, there were many failures before we broke through to success. Now we are on the way to understanding and comprehending different lessons, it is invaluable for the team. We need to return and start climbing the mountain, which we have not yet been able to climb, although we stopped not far from the summit, “summed up the mentor of the islanders.