Stanley Cup Finals Game 6 Review
LIGHTNING WIN SECOND STANLEY CUP NEARLY ONE YEAR AFTER SEASON BEGAN
Nearly a full year after the opening face-off of the 2019-20 campaign and more than six months after the League hit “pause” on the regular season, the Tampa Bay Lightning won Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final with a 2-0 shutout to claim their second championship.
* The clinching victory came 363 days after the puck dropped on the regular season, 201 days after the pause began and 65 days after players entered “Bubbles” in Edmonton and Toronto for a postseason unlike any other in League history.
* The Lightning opened their 27th season with a victory against the intrastate rival Panthers on Oct. 3, 2019, and concluded it by hoisting the Cup to avenge one of the most monumental upsets in League history. After matching the single-season NHL record for wins in 2018-19, the Lightning were swept by the Blue Jackets in the First Round.
* Tampa Bay became the third team in NHL history to win the Stanley Cup after being swept in a best-of-seven series during the opening round of the previous postseason, joining the 1967 Maple Leafs and 1961 Black Hawks.
* The Lightning are the first franchise to join the League in the 1990s or later and win the Stanley Cup multiple times, though the trophy presentation looked quite different this time around. Former captain Dave Andreychuk accepted the team’s first Cup on June 7, 2004 after Game 7 against the Calgary Flames in front of a crowd of 22,717 at St. Pete Times Forum, while current captain Steven Stamkos accepted the trophy alongside the entire team at center ice at Rogers Place in Edmonton.
HEDMAN AWARDED CONN SMYTHE TROPHY
After recording the third-highest goal total by a defenseman in a single postseason, Victor Hedman (10-12—22 in 25 GP) won the Conn Smythe Trophy, awarded to “the most valuable player to his team in the playoffs.” The winner was selected in a vote by a panel of the Professional Hockey Writers Association.
* Hedman followed Hockey Hall of Fame members Paul Coffey (12 in 1985 w/ EDM; 18 GP) and Brian Leetch (11 in 1994 w/ NYR; 23 GP) as the third defenseman in NHL history to score at least 10 goals in a playoff year.
* Hedman (Ornskoldsvik, Sweden) became the third Swedish-born player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy, following Nicklas Lidstrom (Vasteras, Sweden; 2002) and Henrik Zetterberg (Njurunda, Sweden; 2008) who did so with the Red Wings in 2002 and 2008, respectively.
VASILEVSKIY SAVES PERFECT PERFORMANCE FOR PLAYOFF FINALE
Andrei Vasilevskiy recorded his first shutout of the 2020 postseason in the Cup-clinching game to win his first Stanley Cup, finishing with an 18-7 record in 25 appearances (1.90 GAA, .927 SV%) – including a perfect 7-0 mark following a loss. His 18 wins were the most ever in one playoff year by a goaltender, as he earned victories in two of the team’s three round-robin contests before the First Round.
* Vasilevskiy made 22 saves in Game 6 to become the second goaltender in NHL history to record his first shutout in a playoff year during the Cup-clinching game. Tom Barrasso is the only other to do so, with the Penguins in 1991 – also against the Stars/North Stars franchise.
* Vasilevskiy (1,708:12) set an NHL record for minutes played by a goaltender in a postseason, tending the Lightning net for all but 13:02 of their postseason (when he was off for an extra attacker). He is the 10th different goaltender in the NHL’s expansion era (since 1967-68) – and first since 2013 – to be the only netminder during the playoffs for a Stanley Cup champion.
KUCHEROV, POINT, HEDMAN FILL VOID ON OFFENSE
With captain Steven Stamkos missing all but one game in the 2020 postseason – after ranking second on the team in goals (29) and points (66) during the regular-season (57 GP) – the Lightning were offensively led on their championship run by three other franchise cornerstones: Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point and Victor Hedman.
* The trio teamed up for the Cup-clinching goal in Game 6, the last of their collective 31 goals, 58 assists and 89 points in the 2020 postseason (25 GP).
* Point (5-3—8) and Kucherov (1-7—8), who each had three straight multi-point games in the Final, became the first set of teammates since 1994 to each record a point streak of five or more games in the Stanley Cup Final. Mark Messier (6 GP) and Alex Kovalev (5 GP) combined for the feat with the Rangers that year.
* Point led all players with five goals in the Final, tied for the most by any player in the last 30 years. Kucherov led all players with seven assists in the Final, tied for the most by any player since 2011 (Kuznetsov: 7 in 2018). They became the first set of Cup-winning teammates to each record eight or more points in the Final since 1991, when Mario Lemieux, Larry Murphy and Joe Mullen did so against the North Stars.
All but one player on the Lightning roster won the Stanley Cup for the first time, marking the third straight year that the NHL’s champion was comprised of one or fewer former Cup winners – the first such run in League history. Tampa Bay is the ninth team in the League’s expansion era (since 1967-68) to win the Cup with one or fewer past champions.
* Forward Pat Maroon, who won the Stanley Cup with St. Louis in 2019, became the third player in the NHL’s expansion era (since 1967-68) and eighth in League history to win a championship in consecutive seasons with a different team.
STANLEY CUP FINAL NOTES
The 130th postseason game in 2020 brought to an end a Stanley Cup Playoffs unlike any other in League history. After each of the 24 resuming teams played one exhibition game from July 28-30, the first-ever Stanley Cup Qualifiers followed with 44 total games in the round-robin (12 GP) and qualifying round (32 GP) from Aug. 1-9 to determine the 16-team bracket for the Stanley Cup Playoffs (86 GP).
* The Stanley Cup Final required at least six games for the 17th time in the last 21 series. There has not been a single sweep in the Final during that span nor has there been consecutive years without at least a six-game series.
* The Stanley Cup was won via a shutout for the 23rd time in NHL history and fourth time since the Lightning last won the Cup in 2004 (also 2017 PIT, 2015 CHI and 2011 BOS).
* The 2020 Stanley Cup Final marked the first time that the Cup was won at a neutral site since 1927 when the NHL took sole control over trophy. The only instances before that came in 1920, 1923 and 1924.
* The Lightning became the first team in NHL history to win the Stanley Cup without playing a playoff game in its home city. Prior to Tampa Bay, the closest a champion had come to that feat is the original Ottawa Senators in 1921 and 1923 (1 GP in Ottawa).
* This marked the fifth time a team has won the Stanley Cup in Edmonton (also the Oilers in 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988).
* The Stanley Cup now has been awarded in five different months: March (6x; first in 1918 and last in 1929), April (40x; first in 1920 and last in 1964), May (27x; first in 1965 and last in 1991), June (27x; first in 1992 and last in 2019) and for the first time, September.
By the Numbers 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs & Stanley Cup Qualifiers
The Lightning defeated the Stars in Game 6 of the 2020 Stanley Cup Final to end an unprecedented postseason that started with players arriving in hub cities of Toronto and Edmonton on July 26 and ended with Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos hoisting the Stanley Cup surrounded by teammates on Sept. 28 – nearly one year after the 2019-20 season began on Oct. 2, 2019.
A closer look at the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs and Stanley Cup Qualifiers:
33,394 – Total number of COVID-19 tests administered to 52-member Club traveling staff, including Players, during Phase 4 (July 26 – September 28) of the NHL’s Return to Play plan, with zero positive results.
20,000 – Iced Capps handed out by Tim Hortons inside the secure zones in Toronto and Edmonton along with 50,000+ cups of coffee and over 40,000 baked goods.
1,452 – Total number of League and Club personnel who stayed in the “bubble” secure zones.
1,042 – Total hours of Stanley Cup Playoffs broadcast coverage by NBC, Sportsnet and TVA Sports.
800+ – Number of Zoom media availabilities conducted since players arrived in the secure zone including pre-game, post-game, off-day and NHL Awards winners.
558 – Number of players across the 24 teams who played in at least one game of the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers and 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, including 121 who made their postseason debut. Two of those to debut did so in the Stanley Cup Final: Dallas’ Nick Caamano (Game 3) and Tampa Bay’s Alexander Volkov (Game 6).
413:42 – Total time (in minutes and seconds) of overtime contested by all teams during the 2020 postseason, including the fourth-longest game in NHL history between the Lightning and Blue Jackets in Game 1 of the First Round (5OT; 90:27 of extra time).
363 – Number of days between the puck drop on opening night of the 2019-20 regular season on Oct. 2, 2019 and awarding the Lightning the Stanley Cup on Sept. 28, 2020.
343:31:00 – Total duration (in hours, minutes and seconds) of the 130 games of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
221:14 – Total time (in minutes and seconds) of Playoff overtime played by the Lightning, the most of any team in NHL history.
201 – Number of days between the pause of the NHL season on March 12 and the awarding of the Stanley Cup on Sept. 28.
130 – Number of games contested since the NHL returned with the first game of the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers on Aug. 1, including 75 in Edmonton and 55 in Toronto.
85 – Number of saves made by Columbus goaltender Joonas Korpisalo in a 5OT loss to Tampa Bay in the First Round, the highest single-game total since 1955-56 when the League began tracking the statistic consistently.
65 – Number of days from the arrival of the teams to the hub cities on July 26 and the Lightning raising the Stanley Cup on Sept. 28.
57 – Total goals scored in the Second Round series between the Avalanche and Stars – the sixth-highest scoring series in NHL history.
34 – Points by Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov (7-27—34), the most of any player in the 2020 postseason and the second-highest total by any skater over the last 20 years (Evgeni Malkin: 14-22—36 in 2009).
26 – Points recorded by Dallas’ Miro Heiskanen (6-20—26) to lead all defensemen in the 2020 postseason. Only three blueliners have recorded more points in a single postseason.
24 – Members of the Lightning to win their first Stanley Cup, all but Pat Maroon who also won in 2019 with the Blues.
14 – Goals scored by Lightning forward Brayden Point to lead all players and set a new franchise record for most goals in a single postseason.
10 – Goals by Conn Smythe Trophy winner Victor Hedman, one of three defensemen in NHL history to reach double digits in a single postseason joining Paul Coffey (12 in 1985) and Brian Leetch (11 in 1994).
10 – Number of defensemen, including Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman, who have won the Conn Smythe Trophy. Eight of the previous winners on that list are members of the Hockey Hall of Fame and the other, Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith, was named among the 100 Greatest NHL Players.
9 – Number of times a player has won the Stanley Cup in consecutive seasons with different teams, including Pat Maroon in 2020 with the Lightning and 2019 with the Blues.
3 – Goals scored by Dallas rookie Joel Kiviranta in Game 7 of the Second Round against Colorado, the seventh Game 7 hat trick in NHL history and first since Wayne Gretzky in 1993.
2 – Stanley Cups won by the Lightning (2020 and 2004). Tampa Bay is the only team to debut in the NHL in the 1990s or later to win multiple championships.
1 – Goal scored by Lightning captain Steven Stamkos in 2:47 of playing time in the 2020 postseason, all in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final.
0 – Best-of-seven sweeps in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the fourth time since 1987, when the best-of-seven format was adapted for all four rounds (also 2016, 2002 and 1991).