Tampa Bay Lightning reach third consecutive Stanley Cup Final with Game 6 win vs. New York Rangers
The Tampa Bay Lightning are heading to the Stanley Cup Final for the third consecutive season and the reward is starting on the road again against the Western Conference’s top regular-season team.
The way the two-time defending champions beat the New York Rangers 2-1 in Game 6 will help them when they face the Colorado Avalanche in Game 1 on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET, ABC).
Captain Steven Stamkos scored two goals, the second just 21 seconds after the Rangers had tied the game in the third period.
"We don’t care how it gets done, it just needs to get done," he told reporters after the game. "I’m very proud of this group. We’re going to the Finals again and have a chance to do something special.”
Stamkos opened the scoring in Saturday's goaltending battle when his wrist shot eluded a partially screened Igor Shesterkin at 10:43 of the second period.
Stamkos was in the penalty box when New York's Frank Vatrano tied the game on a power play at 13:07 of the third period.
But Stamkos scored on the next shift on a 2-on-1 break when the rebound of his shot went in off his leg.
"Obviously a little disappointed in myself for taking the penalty," he said. "You see them score and you're in the box. It was weird. For some reason, I wasn't as rattled as I usually am in those situations.
I was just confident in our group that we'd find a way, whether it was in regulation or in overtime. We deserved to win tonight."
Shesterkin complained but the goal survived a review.
"It's not the individuals," Stamkos said. "It's great to score a couple goals in a huge game like this, but if I didn't score and we won, I'd be just as happy. ... We know that everyone in our room plays a huge part in our group success."
Shesterkin, a finalist for the Vezina and Hart trophies, made 28 saves as he fell short in his bid to improve to 6-0 in elimination games this postseason.