Bolts punch ticket to Finals in quest for Stanley Cup threepeat

Lightning players celebrating a goal
Photo courtesy Tampa Bay Lightning

Don’t call it a comeback. The Bolts are back in the Stanley Cup Finals after securing four-straight wins to take down the New York Rangers 4-2 in the Eastern Conference finals Saturday night. Next up, Tampa Bay will face the Colorado Avalanche beginning Wednesday night in Denver.

Were it anyone else, the response after immediately going down 0-2 in the series against the Rangers would be surprising. But for the Lightning, things like this are just sort of what they do. The Bolts have played all postseason like a team that’s been here before, and of course, that’s because they have been.

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After winning back-to-back championships in 2020 and 2021, the Lightning are now in position to defend their title and become the first threepeat Stanley Cup Champions in 40 years. However, as impressive as their third-straight Finals appearance may be, Tampa Bay will have to be a more consistent team than it has been for much of the year.

The Avalanche have been one of the NHL’s best teams all season long, while the Bolts have dealt with bouts of bad luck and injury issues. And in the two times they met during the regular season, the Avs came away wins in both Denver and Tampa. Colorado won the first meeting 4-3 in October at Amalie Arena, then took a 3-2 decision in February’s game in Denver.

Colorado has won its three playoffs series 4-0, 4-2, and 4-0, coming into the Finals on an absolute heater. The Bolts had a hard time in the opening round, just sneaking past the Maple Leafs, but are now 8-2 in their last 10 games.

The first two games of the Finals will be hosted in Denver, and the Bolts return home for games three and four on Monday, June 20th, and Wednesday, June 22nd. All games begin at 8 pm.

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