|Record||Goaltender||GAA / SV%|
|Dallas Stars||14-10-0||Anton Khudobin||2.07 / .931|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||16-5-1||Andrei Vasilevskiy||0.00 / 1.00|
TLDR: More than six months after the pause of the 2019-20 NHL Season, the Tampa Bay Lightning are the Stanley Cup Champions. Winning the Cup was the final hurdle the Bolts had to overcome to complete their redemption run after being swept by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the First Round of the 2018-19 playoffs.
The Dallas Stars kept their run to the Stanley Cup championship alive after winning a do-or-die Game 5 on Saturday. That win came on the back-half of a back-to-back, and the 2OT game-winning goal came from Corey Perry. Perry, who on January 1st, 2020, was ejected from the Winter Classic game versus the Predators, has turned into the unlikely hero after scoring three goals in the last two games. Now, in Game 6, The Tampa Bay Lightning are looking to close out the series and lift Lord Stanley for a second time, after failing to do so in Game 5. Steven Stamkos was not in the lineup yet again.
This post-season, Stars goaltender Anton Khudobin is 2-0 with a .929 save percentage when facing elimination. Elimination; something that Andrei Vasilevskiy and the Lightning haven’t faced for the entirety of the playoffs. Tampa has won every Game 6 they’ve played thus far, but Dallas was looking to change that. The Stars dominated possession early on in the first period, but the Bolts had the better scoring opportunities, and otherwise dominated play. The Lightning received the first power play of the night as Andrew Cogliano was sent off for tripping. Tampa’s power play has been lights out this post-season, and Dallas was missing key penalty-killers like Radek Faksa, Roope Hintz, and of course Cogliano. A combined play between Tyler Seguin, Miro Heiskanen and Justin Dowling nearly gave their team a 1-0 lead shorthanded just before successfully killing off the penalty. The Lightning went back on the power play as John Klingberg was called for tripping with 8:02 remaining in the period. This time, they scored with the man-advantage as Brayden Point tallied his 14th goal of the post-season.
The Dallas Stars had registered just one shot on goal with 4:45 left in the first, and while scoring chances aren’t everything, it certainly helps to have more than your opposition. With 1:24 remaining, Victor Hedman was called for interference and so the Stars got their first chance on the power play. Dallas actually had a number of really good looks prior to the expiration of the period, but Tampa still led 1-0.
Due to the 36 seconds of carry-over power play time from the first period, Dallas began the 2nd period skating 6-on-5. The Stars did not convert, but Tampa almost made it 2-0 as Hedman was leaving the penalty box to join in on the developing play in Dallas’ zone. Seven minutes into the period, Tampa was making it very difficult for Dallas to exit their own defensive zone, and to skate through the neutral zone. The dump and chase game typically exhausts the team that is playing from behind, far faster than the team that is leading. Coincidentally, Blake Coleman, made it 2-0, Tampa seven minutes and one second into the period.
Moments later, Ryan McDonagh was called for interference against Tyler Seguin so once again the Stars would have a chance to cut into the Bolts lead. With time remaining on the power play, Corey Perry was assessed a goaltender interference penalty and so play resumed as 4-on-4 for 40 seconds. On their abbreviated power play, the Lightning were unable to add to their two-goal lead. With three minutes left in the middle frame, the Stars were being outshot 16-7. The Dallas Stars had been one of the top faceoff teams during the regular season and boasted the best face-off percentage after the Flyers were eliminated in Round 2. However, in Game 6, the Lightning had won 17 of 30 faceoffs taken, leaving the Stars winning less than 43% of those faceoffs. After 40, Tampa still led, 2-0.
Although they trailed, the Dallas Stars have the ability to battle back and possibly win Game 6. Time and time again, they have come back from deficits to tie and sometimes even win. Outshooting the Stars 23-9 to start the third period, the Lightning were less than 20 minutes away from hoisting their second Stanley Cup. Dallas lacked the vigor and energy that had carried them through three rounds and two Finals wins so far. The Stars began to apply some sustained pressure with just about 10 minutes remaining. With 4:33 left, Dallas was gifted another chance to score on the power play with McDonagh in the box for tripping. Anthony Cirelli could have made it 3-0 had Khudobin not shifted over to stifle the shot. The Stars failed to convert, and with 1:50 left, the Stars elected to pull their goaltender for the extra attacker.
Unfortunately, Dallas was unable to string together a set of dominant plays to cut into or wash out Tampa’s 2-0 lead. As the clock ticked down past 10 seconds remaining, it was all but assured that the Tampa Bay Lightning would win the Stanley Cup Championship.